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P R M 3S K l^ X) 



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^ "I 



^consCcAA. ^je^d/jL/v' i^^ 

*« ■ 4 




f s 

\. C 5 

7 U 






(Author of « Gems from ike Coral Idands "). 















Family Histobt 

Tiverton. 1817—1825 


• • • • • • 

••• ••• ••* ••! 


!•• ••• ••• ••• ■•• 


.•< iX' 

liONDON. 1830—1835 

TuBVBT. 1836—1838 


••• ••• ••• ••< 


• • • • • « 

*•• ••• ••• 


• • • mm ^ 

YoYAGE OP THE " Camden." 1838—1839 

• • • • • • 

Akbiyal in Apbica ... 


• • • • • • 

... 31 


Arbiyal at Sydney ... 


... 45 

Arbiyal at Samoa ... 


••• ••• ••• 

> • • a ■ < 

Arriyal at Rarotonga. 1839 

The Report op the Murder op Rey. J. Williams ... 

... 50- 



Natiyb Teachers — ^Teaya and Tupe 

... 7a 


Visit to Mangaia, 1841 

> • • •• • 

Second Visit to Mangaia, 1842 

... yt>- 

... 117 

iv Contents. 



Thxbd Visit to Hanoaia 139 

Building of Institution at, and Chapel at Abobanoi ... 149 

Abbival of the New Mission Ship, " John Williams," and State 

OF THE Mission in 1845 154 

Visit to Manoaia, 1845, with Newly Appointed Missionabt ... 163 



Visit to the Islands of Westebn Polynesia, 1846 188 

Mission Wobk, 1847 to 1852 — Rev. and ' Mas. Buzacott visit 

JliNOLAND .a. ... ... ... *•• ... ... ... •■* ^^xM. 

Commebcial and Religious Pboobess 251 

Retubn of Rby. a. Buzacott, and Commemobation of the 

Thibtieth Anniyebsaby ..«~ 264 

Pbefabatioks fob a Voyage to England 271 

England ... •»• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• *•»' 

Conclusion ... ... ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• "^^ 

They are not to our love, 
But to the home above, 
Taken by Thee. 

Gently translated, they 

Pass out of sight. 
Gone as the morning stars 

Flee with the night: 
Taken to endless day, 
So may I fade away. 

Into Thy light. 

G. Kawson 






My great-grandfather was bom at Culmstock, Devon ; he was 
a wool-comber, a business of some importance in his time. 
He died at a good old age in 1790. 

My grandfather was bom in 1756, and spent the early- 
years of his life in Culmstock. He followed the same 
business as his father. He removed from Culmstock to 
Korth Tawton, where he married. He died in May, 1819, 
aged sixty-three. 

My father was bom at North Tawton in 1789. At the 
age of fourteen he was apprenticed to the trade of tanner 
and currier at Crediton, and at the age of twenty-two years 
he removed to Totnes, where he was married on April 6th, 

My mother was a native of Harberton, a village near 

Totnes ; her parents were attached members of the Church 

of England, and were, much esteemed by the inhabitants. 

Her maiden name was Bartlett« 


4 The Rev. W. Gilts Autobiography. 

I was bom January 14ih, 1813, at Totnes. The diflSculties 
in connection with the Trades Union about this time com- 
pelled my father, under the auspices of the Union, to leave 
Totnes on a visit to London* His duties called him to visit 
many towns until he settled in Cambridge, where, for two 
years, he resided with his family. 

A combination against the Union in December, 1816, 
necessitated a return to London, and, after a short stay there, 
my father decided to return to Devonshire. In 1817 my 
parents removed from Totnes to Tiverton ; we were settled 
until 1828, when we removed to Brentford, and thence to 
London, the future home of the family. 



TIYEETON. 1817—1828. 

My early memories of Tiverton, Devon, were very pleasant. 
Tiverton had many educational advantages ; there were two 
good college schools, and two or three good boarding schools. 
I well remember the kind care of the principal and teachers 
in the school where I was a pupil. I had no excessive fond- 
ness for study, nor any particular aversion ; never but once 
was I punished for carelessness at school, and, in a few years, 
I made ordinary proficiency — ^not to distinguish myself as a 
scholar, but to prepare me for the station in life I was 
supposed to occupy. 

At the age of twelve my father wished me to enter the 
lace factory. After twelve months' trial, I found that neither 
the employment nor the general society of the place had any 
attractions for me. Just at this time my mother made 
arrangements for a prolonged visit among her relations in the 
east of Devon, and, to my great relief and pleasure, it was 
arranged that I and my brother George, who was seven years 
my junior, should accompany her. 

On my return from this tour, and soon after my thirteenth 
year, I was led to choose the business of cabinet-maker and 
upholsterer, and was thereupon bound as an apprentice for 
seven years to one of the largest and most respectable firms 
in the town, Messrs. Bowden and Sharland. A few months 
after this the partnership was dissolved, and I was placed 
under the sole care of Mr. Sharland. Mr. S. was an active 
Christian man, a member of the Church at the Old Steps 
Meeting, and one of the zealous teachers in the Sunday 
School. Mr. S. assiduously instructed me in the busiaess, 
and Mrs. S. watched with motherly care over my mental 

6 SelecHahs from 

and moral improvement. The instruction gained from Mr. S. 
was of much service to me in after-life. Two or thre^ years 
before my apprenticeship my mother became a member of 
the Church at the Old Steps Meeting; this event was a 
happy one for herself, and blessed in its influence on myself 
and brothers. By this means we were all early introduced 
to religious friends and associations. 

I well remember lihe " Old Meeting House " with its high 
pews, deep galleries, long brass chandeliers holding about 
sixty or seventy candles on winter evenings. The old place 
has ever been dear to my memory ; it was there I was per- 
mitted to begin to understand and to enjoy religions instruc- 
tion and worsliip. 

Some Unitarian strife among the ministers of the town, 
and especially in connection with this place, has always 
marred my otherwise pleasant memories. 

The Eev. Wm. Whitta became the minister when these 
dissensions had ceased, and from him I received much kind 
q,ttention, which influenced me for good. 

I was about ten years old when introduced to a Bible 
Class conducted by a Mr. Ellis ; to him I owe, more than to 
anyone, the early knowledge and impressions of religion 
which were fostered into growth in after-life. It was his habit 
to supplement his Sunday teaching by meetings his scholars 
every Friday evening for special prayer, and conversation 
upon the peculiar circumstances of the young men under 
his care. About two years after my introduction to the class, 
I wtis selected to accompany Mr. Eobert Ware and Mr, Shar- 
land every other Sunday as helper in the Juvenile Classes at 
the villages of Chevethome and Bolham. This was my first 
attempt at Christian work. The influence of these visits was 
good, and as I look back on them I often wonder why I was 
selected to help, but I also feel I had a very simple and 
sincere delight in the engagement, and trace to it that which 
led to after public work in the ministry. 

When I was fourteen years old, my father, very unex- 
pectedly, was compelled, in consequence of business relation- 
ships, to remove from Tiverton to Brentford, near London. 
This involved the removal of the family also, and necessitated 

The Rev. W. GilPs Autohiography. 7 

some arrangements which led to the giving up of my 
apprenticeship indentures. Mr. Sharland in this matter 
^cted with very great kindness and consideration. 

On the occasion of my leaving Tiverton, a special service 
was held in the school, in which I was prayerfully commended 
to the guidance and care of God. I received many suitable 
and valuable books as an expression of the teachers' kind- 
ness ; but no language can describe my deep feelings in this 
separation. I walked home along " The Causeway " as with 
a broken heart after the service. My brother George was 
with me. I felt I was experiencing a heavy trial, but all the 
memories of my heart in connection with Tiverton fiUed me 
with praise to God. 

Letters of introduction from the school at Tiverton gave 
me a position in the school of the Independent Chapel at 
Brentford, where I was appointed teacher of the second 
juvenile class. During our stay in Brentford, I filled a 
situation as manager in a retail leather cutter's business. 
The place of business was Kingston-on-Thames: young 
as I was, I was led to accept this heavy responsibility. It 
was no little joy to my heart that I was enabled to visit 
Brentford every Sunday, and, of course, returning to Kingston 
the following day. 

These arrangements were continued until the spring of 
1830, when our family removed to London. 



LONDON. 1830^1835. 

My mother was transferred from the Church at Tiverton. 
to that at Barbican Chapel. I at the same time was intro- 
duced to the circle of Sunday School teachers there. 

My first Sunday in London was in July, 1830, King 
George IV. was dead, "and lying in state" at St. James's^ 
Palace. In company with a young friend, a son of a former 
acquaintance, I went to see the sight. I confess that I felt 
that this was a novel way to me of spending the Sabbath, 
and, while somewhat interested, I felt that I was not at all 
satisfied. The next Sunday also was spent in "vagrant 
pleasure," wandering with the same young friend. 

Happily, however, during the following week the Eev. 
Wm. Whitta, my mother's former pastor at Tiverton, sent a 
special letter of introduction for her and me to the Eev. A. 
Tidman, of Barbican. This, as it now appears to me, was asj 
the golden link of God's goodness and mercy connecting 
previous years of youthful experience with all my future years 
of Christian profession and work. 

The following Sunday found my mother a member of 
Barbican Church. At the same time I became a teacher 
of a juvenile class, and in a short time my brothers George, 
John, and Henry were scholars in the Sunday School. Hera 
I soon found a home, and gratefully must I acknowledge the 
kindness shown me by the Eev. A. and Mrs. Tidman. 

Very soon after arriving in London the question of my 
business pursuits required attention, and just about this time- 
the Messrs. John and Eobert Drew, who carried on a large 
business as tanners and curriers, wished to open a retail 
business in the West End of London, and, being personal 

The Rev. Wl GilCs Autobiography. 9 

fciendd of our family, wished me to undertake for tliem the- 
responsible position and care of the retail department. 

This position was accepted and carried on with mutual 
confidence and esteem until the partnership was dissolved and 
the business sold. 

The Messrs. Drew, however, kindly introduced me to a 
Mr* Godby, who was desirous that I should conduct a similar 
business for him in Poplar. 

I find an entry in my journal under date of July 18th,. 
1834, thus : — ** Mr. Godby having called yesterday about my 
taking his shop at Poplar, I this morning specially sought 
Divine guidance. Mr. Godby came again to-day, and being- 
so desirous of engaging me I consented to go." I remained in 
Poplar for nearly two years, during which time I came into- 
London regularly every Sunday morning and returned on 

The first Sunday in January, 1832, was one of great interest 
and importance to me. I was then just nineteen years oldr 
and on this day it was my privilege to join the Church at 
Barbican. During the previous two years I had profited 
much under the preaching of the Eev. A. Tidman, and all 
the associations of the Church and schools had grown in 
deepening and affectionate interest. 

Many kind friends were helpful to me as a youth ; some 
were my elders, and others but little more than my own age. 
Gratefully do I record some names — Mullens, Challis, Con- 
grave, Dyer, Humphries, Collins, EusseU, G. A. Lloyd. Such 
friends had much to do under God in the formation of my 
character and its development for Christian usefulness. 

Mr. Dyer, who afterwards was a minister in America, was 
at this time a teacher in the school, and he it was who helped 
me publicly to decide for Christ, and to join the Church. I 
have ever had grateful memories of his wise and kind encour- 
agements to me. 

While I had very pleasant intercourse with all the 
teachers and friends, and found pleasure in attending with 
them many meetings for conference and prayer, there were 
a few select friends with whom it was my delight to associate, 
who formed what I may call a kind of inner circle of friend- 

1 6 Selections from 

ship: Messrs. Collins, G. A. Lloyd, H. Bussell; Misses 
Collins, Eussell, C. and E. Cunnington, and myself. We had 
frequent meetings at each othei^s homes, sometimes for social 
recreation, and at other times for devotional and religious 

Of friend Collins, I may record that he was very active and 
prosperous in business, and after my absence from England 
for sixteen years I found him, when I came home, a useful and 
influential member of the City Soad Chapel ; a deacon also, 
and a superintendent in the Sunday School. 

Of my friend G. A. Lloyd, I may record that in October, 
1833, he was induced to go out to Sydney, where he became 
very prosperous as a merchant, and has been several times 
elected as M.P. (or M.L.C.), and several years he has been a 
deacon at Pitt Street Chapel, Sydney. 

My friend Henry Eussell, in 1835, married Miss Cunning- 
ton, and went as a missionary to Jamaica, under the auspices 
of the London Missionary Society. 

As the years 1832 to 1835 inclusive were most important 
in the development of my early mental culture and experi- 
mental life, I record a few extracts from my journal : — 

"In Januarj'-, 1833, gave my first address to the boys' 
Sunday School. The circumstances which led to this my 
first address were as follow : — It was the good practice in the 
Sunday School for the teachers and members of the church 
to give an address every Sunday afternoon. 

"From the first, in common with others, I felt instructed and 
interested by such addresses. Many of the short addresses 
given by Challis, Mullens, Eoberts, Cole, and others have 
abided in my memory and influenced my heart and life as 
much or more than many sermons heard during the same 
period. Most of the addresses were wisely adapted to the 
scholars. Often while listening to these addresses the thought 
occurred to me that I might, some day, as a teacher be called 
upon to take my turn in the duty. 

"With the conception of the thought I found myself selecting 
a text, and I decided that the words of Christ to Peter would 
be suitable : ' Lovest thou Me ? ' The work of preparation, think- 
ing and writing, occupied some two months. During this time 

The Rev, W. Gtll's Autobiography. li 

I resolved not to mention this work of preparation to any of my 
intimate friends, from whom I think I kept nothing else secret. 
Very unexpectedly one Sunday afternoon I was requested to 
address the boys' school. Thus I was led to prepare for 
and to practise public speaking. Shortly after this I was 
chosen to give an address to the girls' school, and not 
having prepared another I gave the same. This gave me 
an impulse and encouragement to prepare other short 
addresses, from such words as ' Christ able to save,' ' The 
ivhole world guilty before God,' * The pleasure of sin for a 
season,' 'Suffer little children to come unto Me,' 'Flee, 
youthful lusts,' ' Little children, keep yourselves from idols.' " 

With my most intimate friends, H. E. and G. A. L., I felt 
much drawn and attached to our own place of worship. 
Rarely ever were we absent morning or evening, and this 
regularity of attendance I look back upon with pleasure and 
gratitude. Our dear pastor, Eev. A. Tidman, was much 
loved by us. His fervent exposition of Scripture, his loving 
and practical application of invitation, doctrine, and experi- 
ence, were most impressive, and could not fail to be valuable 
to such young men as we were. 

We were favoured also at Barbican with the occasional 
services of many of the good preachers of the day ; and as I 
now remember their napaes, I have a vivid impression of 
many of their sermons — for example, the Eev. A. Eeed 
preached from " Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for 
the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and 
ye shall find rest for your souls;" the Eev. E. Mannering 
preached from " Vessels made meet for the Master's use ; " 
the Eev. H. Townley from " When Christ, who is our life, 
shall appear, &c. ; " the Eev. J. Pike from " There is joy in 
Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, &c. ; " the Eev. J. 
Stratton preached from " He is a Priest for ever, &c. ; " the 
Eev. Alexander Fletcher preached from " There they crucified 
Him;" the Eev. Dr. Bennett from "Another King, one 
Jesus;" the Eev. John Morison preached from *'From a 
child thou hast known the Scriptures, &c. ; " the Eev. John 
Burnet from " His Kingdom is not of this world;" the Eev. 
Dr. Vaughan from 'f Whither shall I go from Thy presence ? " 

1 2 Selections from 

and the Eev. Dr. Joseph Fletcher from " Thou wilt keep hint 
in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." 

The general influence of these sennons was not only sucli 
as to cause pleasure in remembering the texts, but was- 
abiding for good through future years of life ; and never do I 
now read those, and otJier, texts preached from at that time 
without associating them with the names of these honouredmeiu 

In looking back on such exercises, I think. I can discover 
the germs and the growth of thoughtfulness which led 
to much delight in all devotional exercises. Sure I am that 
in my own case they gave light to the mind, cheerfulness to 
the heart, and guidance to the life. 

I strongly advocate the presenting of short texts of Scrip- 
ture to the mind and the heart of the young. I have always 
advised young people, both at home and abroad, to take not© 
of the texts they hear preached from. 

I am sorry to find that the good old practice of 
teachers and others speaking briefly from a short text to 
Sunday scholars is ve^ much out of fashion now. I have 
but little faith in the many excuses given as reasons for not 
doing so. The thing, wisely done, will always insure God's 

My first public speaking before elders and others was at a 
teachers' meeting, October 15th, 1833, when, for the en- 
couragement of those labouring in the school, I was led to 
give a Eeport of a Juvenile Prayer Meeting, which had been 
established by my brother George, in connection with some 
of the scholars, but was not known to any of the teachers of 
the schooL 

Calling one evening at my father's house, I found to my 
surprise that a room, which he had suitably fitted up, had 
been granted to my brother for this purpose. The meet- 
ing was then being held. With grateful delight, unknown to 
my brother, I remained some time outside listening to the 
reading and prayers. 

Certain rules had been agreed to, a copy of which I 
subsequently obtained, and which I here record : — 

1st. — ^That this Society be denominated the Barbican 
Sunday School Devotional Class. 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 13 

'2nA — ^That it shall be composed of such young persons 
who are seeking their way to Zion, with their faces 
•3rd. — ^That no one be admitted as a member unless he 

has attended one month regularly. 
4th. — ^That none be admitted as a member unless by a 

majority of votes of the members present. 
/5th, — ^That the Prayer Meeting be held every Wednesday 
evening, to begin at half-past seven o'clock, and to 
close at half-past eight precisely. 
*6th. — That the reading of Scripture and prayer be the 

chief exercises. 
7th. — ^That any instructive book, mutually agreed upon, 

may be also read. 
i8tL — ^That each member preside in rotation. 
9th.— That the prayers be short. 
10th. — ^That an extra meeting bQ held once a month for 

lltL — ^That any member being absent for one month be 
considered as having resigned, unless a satisfactory 
reason be given for his absence. 
12th. — ^That brothers Edwailds and Gill be considered 

respectively as leader of the singing and secretary. 
13th. — ^That whatever expenses be incurred be defrayed 
by voluntary subscription. 
This Eeport, which contained other details, very much in- 
^rested and encouraged all our teachers, and it is pleasing 
to find, after more than forty years of service at home 
?and abroad, that I can record that most of those youths, so 
^associated in early life, gave themselves to Christ, and that 
many of them have been engaged in the ministry or in some 
other works of Christian usefulness. 

Besides attending the Sunday School, I find in my note- 
book records of visitation to the poor and destitute, either 
.alone or in company with some member of the then flourish- 
ing "Christian Instruction Society." Also, I was one 
appointed to join others to give short addresses to the poor 
.people who were accustomed to meet in Golden Lane and 
Artillery Place^ 

1 4 Selections from 

These services were no doubt stimulating and healthy in 
the formation of good habits, but still more valuable as- 
mesms of grace, and while in such a review of the past as I 
am now making I can see much ignorance and imperfection, 
I am convinced of this practical lesson, that it is weU to employ 
the little we have wisely and humbly for the good of others. 

There will be danger in premature development of youthful 
piety ; it will need to be watered and sustained by growth ot 
love, humility, and faith. Where these are allowed quietly 
and almost unconsciously to grow it must be an evidence or 
God's blessing. I have at this time in the review of life 
numerous illustrations of these sentiments, both in my work 
at home, and in the islands of the Southern Sea. 

Amid these associations and influences, so happy and useful 
to my early Christian life, I was soon called to the experiences, 
involved in changes and separations of early friends. 

In October, 1833, one of my dearest friends, Greorge Alfred 
Lloyd, was led, with the sanction of his father and mother, to 
leave England for Sydney, New South Wales. Our friend- 
ship was very dear, and it seemed strange to us that he 
should have consented to go. On Sunday evening, October- 
27th, a goodly company of us met at his father's house to ask 
God's guidance and blessing on the undertaking. J. Collins, 
H. EusseU, and I offered prayer, and the good old father gave 
the benediction. The following evening I parted with my 
friend. It was a sore trial indeed to our young and tender 
hearts, and little did we know then all the meaning and the^ 
uses of the trial. Soon after Alfred's departure his father died. 

Alfred, however, reached his adopted home. He succeeded 
in business enterprises, and in a year also sent for his mother 
and family to come to him. There he provided for himself' 
and family a home, and rose to be a man of property and 
position, and of great influence in all social and religious 
enterprises, for with all he was a man of God. 

On my arrival at Sydney in 1838, 1 found him settled as a 

farmer up the country. On my return to Sydney in 1853 he 

was a merchant of position and a deacon of Pitt Street Chapel. 

He visited England in 1858, and laid the foundation-stone- 

of the new chapel. Rectory Place, Woolwich* 

The Rev. W. GtlVs Autobiography. 15 

• Subsequently, he returned to Sydney, became a member 
of the Colonial Parliament for Newcastle, Financial Secretary 
to the Colonial Government, and has since held the office 
of Postmaster-General. 

In common with many contemporary merchants he has 
experienced many changes and vicissitudes, but is firmly 
attached to truths and principles imbibed in early youth. 
We have often reviewed the way of Divine guidance, and 
give thanks for the early influences of Christian associations 
at Barbican. 

It was the practice of the Eev. A. Fletcher, of Finsbury 
Chapel, to assemble the children of Sunday Schools on 
Christmas Day. They were gala days and eminently useful, 
and a means of good to the children of the times. I well 
remember Christmas Day, 1833, when Mr. Fletcher preached 
from the words, " The Great Salvation." 

The last Sunday of this year has special notice in my 
journal in reference to the sermon preached by Mr. Tidman 
jfrom the words, " We spend our years as a tale that is told," 
and its influence on my heart and feeling. 

This year, 1833, had been one of much pleasure and I 
trust of no little profit. The intercourse with Christian 
friends had had a formative influence, preparing, as I then 
little knew, for the years of after-hfe. 

On the last night of the year, in company with friend 
EusseU, I went to the midnight meeting held in the Wesleyan 
Chapel, City Eoad. The Eev. Theophilus Lessey gave an 
iippressive sermon from the words, "Behold I come as a 
thief in the night." Many of our Barbican friends were with 
us. It was the first service of the kind I had attended. We 
were all pleased and edified, and with grateful hearts 
encouraged to go on in the unfolding path of new life. 

Attended the early prayer meeting for the new year, 1834, 
in Barbican Chapel, at half-past six. The place was crowded. 
It was a memorable meeting. We offered praise. We made 
our vows, and sought continued grace and guidance. 

I find an entry in my journal, that this day I attended the 
marriage of a friend of my father and mother; the parties 

1 6 Selections from 

were professed Owenites. I was with them till evening; 
found their minds dark indeed respecting our views of Gh>d 
^nd Providence. I embraced the opportunity for some plain 
conversation with them. 

This day also, or rather late in the evening, I wrote a 
long letter to T. C, brother of my friend J. C, on religious 
matters. As I now review these notes, I am surprised at my 
boldness ; but I thought it right then. God forgave the evil, 
.and blessed the good. 

January, 1834. — This is the completion of my twenty-first 
year. Amid all the changes I have thus far had, my years 
have been much blessed. Humility and gratitude before 
God are the true feelings of my heart. Some few trials and 
j)erplexities have been allowed to alarm Ine, but light and 
hope have been granted. The past year, though gone, yet 
^speaks — ^its voice tells me of the instability of all earthly 
tilings and the uncertainty of all earthly plans ; but it also 
tells me of the faithfulness and love of God, May these 
reflections abide with me. Henceforth let me dedicate every 
power and possession to Him who is my Eedeemer, and may 
He daily help me so to do. Amen. 

In the month of April, 1834, the situation I had filled 
AS manager in Mr. Drew's retail establishment had to be 
vacated — most unexpectedly the firm had to make other 
arrangements, and the business was closed. Thus early did I 
begin to feel perplexed as to the future plans of life. 

But I felt the desire for Christian work growing stronger, 
And gave my first address in the girls' Sunday-school from 
the text, " Lovest thou Me ? " 

This month was blessed to me by a further indication of 
God's will, and very gradually but surely, my good pastor, 
3Ir. Tidman, who had always taken kindly interest in me, 
now embraced opportunities, and, as I think I now see, 
made opportunities to give me something to do at meetings, 
both for prayer and business. Hence he invited me to the 
Annual meeting of the Eeligious Tract Society — wished me 
to accompany him to tea with the Committee of the Irish 
Evangelical Society, of which he was then the Secretary ; — 
^shed me to assist as collector in the public meetings. 

The Rev. TV. Gill's Autobiography. 17 

These were little things and little thought of at the time ; 
lut they yielded much pleasure — a delight in doing some- 
thing ; and I think I now see that they were links in the 
<5hain of God's providential guidance towards me. 

I heard the missionary sermon preached by 'the Eev. E. 
Knill, in the Tottenham Court Boad Chapel. 

He divided his sermon — I. The Harvest : It was great ; 
II. The Labourers: They were few; III. The Prayer: For 
increase. Previous to this service, I had strong desires to 
•devote myself to missionary work, but now these desires were 
matured into a conviction of duty. Up to this time I had 
aiot even mentioned my thoughts to my friend H. E. ; but 
jiow could refrain no longer. In mentioning my convictions 
to him, I found he also had long had the same desires. We 
tegan to feel as living in the opening of a new world. My 
journal says — " We talked together, we prayed together, we 
wept together, we resolved together before the Lord." 

With these feelings I was gratefully pleased to find myself 
.asked to give another address to the Sunday School, May 18th, 
1834. I consented, and took for my text, " God so loved the 
ivorld," &c. 

On the 21st May, 1834, I wrote a letter to my pastor, 
•expressing my desire for mission work, and asking his advice 
^s to entering on a course of study to prepare for that work. 
The following is the entry under this date: "I humbly 
submit my case to Him whose wisdom and love will guide 
me aright, praying, that if He see fit to send me to this work 
He would make me all He would have me be. When I 
think of my unworthiness, it seems like presumption for me 
to aim at being plaxjed in such honour." 

The following Sunday services are specially noticed in 
my journal. Mr. Tidman preached, morning ; Isa. xxxii. 2, 
•*' Man shall be a hiding place from the storm," &c. Person- 
ally I felt this an encouraging promise. In the evening 
Mr. Tidman preached, what I considered, a testing sermon 
to me in relation to my recent letter to him ; the text was 
Jilark V. 19, " Go home to thy friends," &c. 

By invitation, I had an interview with Mr. Tidman, at his 


1 8 Selections from 

house, in Finsbury Square, on the subject of my letter. He 
received me veiy kindly, and, while mentioning many 
difficulties and hindrances which my peculiar ci^cumstances^ 
presented, he encouraged me to use all means at command, 
for mental improvement. He lent me several books. 

June, 1834. — ^Records that friends Henry Eussell and Mr^ 
Bright, another Sunday School teacher, had interviews with. 
Mr. Tidman with reference to giving themselves to the worfc 
of the ministry. 

I find that about fourteen young men, connected witk 
Barbican Church, have been identified with Christian labour^ 

July, 1834. — ^Eecords work in Sunday School, addresses- 
to the Sunday Schools, visitation to the poor and sick, and. 
pleasant Saturday evening prayer meetings. — ^Also another 
interview with Mr. Tidman, and another loan of suitable: 
books on the subject of missions. — ^Also a pleasant week's 
ramble with H. E., through Sheemess, Gravesend, Milton, 
Eochester, and Cobham. In this tour of recreation we 
distributed Bibles and tracts, and spoke on religious matters 
to many men, women, and children. 

August 1, 1834. — ^Noted as a day of rejoicing — ^the day of 
slave emancipation, especially in the islands of the West. 
Indies — ^where it now seemed likely that my friend H. E. 
would be appointed for missionary labour. 

September. — Eecords a visit from my mother, who remained! 
a few days with me. The entry has this paragraph : '^ How 
kindly these visits are. As I think of all the way she has. 
been led, and of how much I owe to her, I feel more and 
more love to my mother; may she be helped to make the= 
surrender of me that she may be called to make." 

October. — Our friend, the Eev. John Vine, of Bushey, was- 
set apart for missionary work in Jamaica. Tlie service was- 
held in the Old Stepney Meeting House — the Eevs. Townley, 
Tidman, Collison, EjiUI, and Fletcher took part in the- 

My lodgings being in the vicinity, many school friends, 
visited me to tea and supper. These friendships are remem- 
bered as one of the peculiar phases of these years. I don't 
know how,but so it was, that all the teachers were very kind and 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 19 

Tery willing to come to see me ; these visits were influential for 
good ; many of the friends came four or five miles to spend 
evenings with me. I now wonder at their kind attentions 
and loving attachment. Some of the new friends made at 
Poplar were Messrs. Burrage, French, Temple, Death — 
Wesleyan Sunday School teachers — ^who often joined in these 
gatherings, and through them I gained introduction to their 
Sunday Schools at Poplar and was often called upon to give 

I am now amazed at the ease with which the journeys to and 
from Poplar were mada I suppose it was youthful enthu- 
siasm and religious pleasure. 

November.: — ^Eecords, that friend H. E. received letters from 
the Eevs. J. Vine and AUoway, of Jamaica, which decided 
him to apply to the London Missionary Society to labour there 
He did so, and was accepted. He married Miss Elizabeth 
Cunnington, and laboured with good success. I felt, how- 
ever, that his going to Jamaica was like the breaking of 
another link in my Barbican friendships; I felt also more 
and more anxious as to when and where I should be called 
to labour. H. E. died at his station in the West Indies 
some time after I had reached the islands of the Pacific. 

December. — ^The entry of this month refers to the illness of 
Mr. Bright, whose mind gave way so that he was removed 
from society ; to changes in Barbican circles ; the close 
of Mr. Tidman's seven years' labour there; and addresses 
given to Sxmday Schools, all tending to show how events 
were preparing me for falling in with God's wiU to go 

Truly I can record, concerning the past four years of my 
life, that they were specially marked by tokens of God's love 
and guidance, and personal growth in experience, activity, and 

Among the many young men friends associated with 
Barbican, during 1834 and 1835, was Mr. W. Henry Dyer. 

On the departure of H. E. for Jamaica, Mr. Dyer was my 

constant companion ; he was then preparing for the ministry, 

and soon went to college, and for many years was a most 

active and faithful minister of Christ. He succeeded the Eev. 


20 Selections from 

W. Jay^ of Bath, and has only recently retired from a long 
and successful ministry. 

Early also in this year (1835) my brother George wrote me 
a letter expressing his desire to profess his love to Christ by 
joining the Church. This he did; and afterwards gave 
himself to the work of the ministry, and for sixteen years 
laboured as a missionary in the islands of the South Seas, and 
subsequently returned to England and received a call to a 
Church at Burnley in Lancashire. 

My brother Henry also followed his example, and also 
became a good minister of Christ in the county of Suffolk ; 
and after labouring successfully in the cause of the Bible 
Society, both in America and in England, died in November 

My brother John also decided for Christ, joined the Church, 
and, remaining at home, was officially coimected with the 
Parish of St. George's-in-the-East, London. 

It will give a further idea of the friendship existing 
among the teachers of Barbican Sunday School if I extract 
from my journal the report of a Teachers' Meeting which I 
convened at my rooms at Poplar. Some twenty-four or 
twenty-six came down in hired conveyances on Good Fri- 
day, April 14th, 1835. Among those present were Messrs. 
H. Eussell, J. Temple, Death, W. H. Dyer, D. Night- 
ingale, A. Nightingale, G. Gill, Burrage, Jefferson, Brown, 
J. Collins, French, and others; Misses Crook, Turner, 
Cunnington, Halliday, Burrage, Eussell, E. Cunnington, 
Ross, Collins, Nightingale, and others. 

After tea, the meeting resolved itself into one of a free and 
friendly conversation on a subject previously given : " In 
what does the glory of Christ's kingdom on Earth consist, and 
how can it best be promoted by His disciples ? " 

This was a pleasant and long-remembered gathering; it 
was the last of many such, and preceded the dispersion of 
those who composed it to the different paths of our individual 

Amid the Christian associations of Barbican School and 
Church, and through the changes of 1834, my heart was more 
and more decided to contemplate missionary work. The 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 21 

previous desires excited were deepened, and I had many 
interviews with Mr. lidman. Sometimes he met me at his 
house, and sometimes we took early morning walks in the 
garden of Finsbury Square. 

The arrival of the Eev. J. Williams from the South Sea 
Islands after sixteen years' labour, and his frequent ministra- 
tions at Barbican, tended to deepen and develop my desire 
for the work. 

Early this year Mr. Tidman introduced me to some of the 
Directors of the Society. I well remember going to see 
them at the old Mission House, 28, Austin Friars, and sub- 
sequently I had more special conversations with Eevs. John 
Arundel and W. Ellis, Secretaries of the Society. These gave 
me encouragement to apply in the usual way. I had two 
interviews with the Committee ; well do I remember them ! 
Good Eev. Lewis, of Islington, presided; Drs. Morison and 
Fletcher were among the ministers there. 

In reply to the question whether I had any special place 
to which I wished to be sent, I said I left myself entirely 
in their hands ; I wished time and opportimity for special 
instruction, and would leave them to decide where to send me. 

At the first meeting, the members of Committee inclined 
to accept me, and send me to the West Indies. This was 
rather pleasing to me, as my friend H. E. would be there ; 
but, at the second meeting, it was decided to send me to the 
Missionary Institution, under the care of the Eev. Eichard 
Cecil, Turvey, Bedfordshire, with a view of my going to the 
South Sea Islands on the return of the Eev. John Williams. 

Month after month passed on in attention to these and 
many other matters in connection with this prospect, and on 
November 19th, 1835, 1 left London for Turvey. The Eev. 
E. and Mrs. Cecil received me most kindly, and so did all the 

I remember well my grateful praise to God that day, 
and my prayer for His guidance and help. Among the 
students at Turvey at this time, and those who afterwards 
came, were Mr. Lumb, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Hay, Mr. 
Wilkinson, Mr. Samuel Martin, Mr. Gleg, Mr. Kettle, Mr. 
Eoss, and others. Generally eighteen students were there. 

22 Tlie Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 

and most who were accepted remamed two or three years. 
In the usual course of study, and in the intimate, personal, 
and family intercourse, I had much delight. Soon, too, I 
had much exercise in village preaching, and occasionally 
supplying the pulpit of Mr. Cecil Under these congenial 
and favourable circumstances I was permitted to close the 
year 1835. 



TUEVEY. 183&— 1838. 

TTcJRVEY is a pretty, quiet village, and of much interest as 
the place where good Leigh Bichmond lived so long, and 
laboured so usefully in the parish church. At his removal 
there were very many truly experimental Christians in the 
^\dllage, and, had a good Gospel minister been put in the 
^church, no Nonconformist place would have been built. 

Among my useful engagements at Turvey was preaching 
^t the villages and sometimes at the towns near. In the 
morning we usually heard Mr. Cecil His devotion, his 
tenderness, his learning, his language, were so valuable to us, 
that every service, apart from its worship, was a blessing to 
the heart and a stimulus to the mind. 

We generally went to the villages in the afternoon, usually 
T^y twos, for both services. 

During my two years' residence at Turvey I preached 
:sixty-five sermons — ^at Bedford, Olney, St. Ifeots, Newport- 
Fagnell, and at the villages of Stoke, Harrold, Stagsden, 
Ashwood, Newton, and Turvey. 

While at Turvey we were frequently favoured with visits 
*of good and useful men, friends of Mr. Cecil, to whom we 
were introduced, and with whom we had free and profitable 
intercourse — ^Dr. Bennett, Henry Dunn, Messrs. Bull, John 
Trost, and Alliott, of Bedford, often came. 

The influence of such visits and intercourse was good and 
Tiighly educational. 

In the autumn of 1837 it was decided by the Directors of 
the London Missionary Society that Eev. John Williams should 
Tetum to his labours in the Islands. This led to my leaving 
Turvey six months earlier than I had expected or desired. 

24 Selections from 

During a short visit to London, in the May Meeting of 
1836, I made proposals of marriage to Miss Elizabeth 
Lansborough Halliday, step-daughter of Eobert Devonshire, 
Esq., of Barbican Church. She had gained my affection at> 
the Good Friday meeting abeady recorded in 1835 ; and in 
May, 1836, was not unprepared for a formal oflfer of hani 
and heart on my part, and to give her own in return. I had 
fomed a high opiln of her s^tabiUty for the work to which 
I was called, and Mr, and Mrs. Devonshire cordially gave^ 
their loving consent ; and on September 21st, 1837, we were 
married at Barbican Chapel, and fully expected to leave- 
England in the following month for the South Sea Islands. 

Arrangements, however, in regard to a new missionarjr 
ship, desired by Mr. Williams, were not completed until 
April, 1838. 

This delay, though irksome, was unavoidable ; but it gave- 
us a better ship than was at first contemplated, and also- 
secured to us some additions to our missionary staff. 

On October 12, 1837, 1 was set apart by public ordination — 
in Barbican Chapel — to the work of the ministry. 

The order of the service was — 

Reading the Scriptures and Prayer by Eev. John Youngs 

Introductory Address by Eev. John Williams, Missionary. 

Questions by Rev. John Arundel, Home Secretary. 

Ordination Prayer by Rev. Arthur Tidman. 

Charge by the Rev. Richard Cecil. 

Conclusion by Eev. W. S. Palmer. 

The chapel was crowded in every part, and the service- 
very solemn. 

The questions put, and the answers given by me, were as> 
follows : — 

"What leads you to hope you are a Christian ? " 

" Being deeply conscious that the office of the Christian 
minister demands as an essential qualification a personal 
experience of Christian grace, I will endeavour to give a 
concise statement of the grounds on which my hopes of 
being a Christian are built, i I had the privilege of Bible- 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 25 

class instruction in my youth, and have reason to trust that 
that instruction ^as blessed in leading me to feel my need 
of Christ as my Saviour, and in leading me to trust in Him. 
I was unexpectedly brought away from my godly teacher ta 
this city, and in mercy led to this house of prayer. Here^ 
through the ministry of God's Word, and intercourse with 
Christian friends, I have been led to make surrender of my 
heart to God, and to devote myself, as He may direct, to His. 

" I conceive the Word of God is the only standard by 
which to judge of Christian experience. In this I find it 
declared that no man can be a Christian until he is born 
again ; that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ;, 
that a Divine life must be imparted to the soul, and that the 
evidence of that life will be seen in a corresponding change 
of feeling and conduct both towards God and man. I hope 
I know something of this change. I feel in my nature many 
things opposed to God's will and law ; but on the other hand. 
I feel emotions of love to God, and find my chief happi- 
ness in trying to love and serve Him. As these are the 
dispositions produced by the regenerating influences of the- 
Holy Spirit, I would hope I am a Christian. 

" Again, the Word of God declares that a Christian places 
his entire acceptance with God and pardon on the merits 
alone of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know the tendency of my^ 
nature towards self-righteousness, yet I do trust with humblfr 
sincerity on the righteousness of Christ for pardon and accept- 
ance. Christ's life, and death, and life in glory are my only 

" Day by day I desire to have His wisdom to guide, and 
His love to help me, so that I may love and serve Him. I 
therefore trust I may conclude I am a Christian." 

" What has led you to think you are in the path of duty 
called to labour in the ministry of the Gospel among the 
heathen ? " 

" This question I consider of much importance. It would 
he sad, indeed, to go forth to this work without the abiding 
conviction of being sent by God. My prayer has been, ' Lord,. 

5 6 Selections from 

lead me in the way of Thy own appointment ; and unless 
Thy presence go up with me, carry me not up hence.' 

" It is the duty of every true Christian to live in some 
43ervice for Christ, his King and Saviour ; but in reference to 
the particular call to preach the Gospel to the heathen, I 
have endeavoured to know God's will, by marking the con- 
<currence of desires and convictions which He has inspired 
with the events of His providence. 

" I have reasons, now, after some four years' service, to 
think God is calling me to this work. 

"My particular interest having been excited towards 
missionary work, I made it known to my pastor, the Eev. 
A. Tidman, who received me with kindness, and gave me 
•encouragement. By him, in due time, I was introduced to 
the Directors of the London Missionary Society, and was 
Accepted for the work. After the usual period of instruction 
under the Eev. R. Cecil at Turvey, I was fully accepted 
by the London Missionary Society, and have been appointed 
by the Directors as missionary to the South Sea Islands. 
In this review of God's gifts and guidance, I think I am in 
the path of duty in going to the heathen." 

" What are your views of the doctrines of Scripture ? " 

"I believe the Scriptures are a revelation from God, 
giving a knowledge of Himself and of His will ; written by 
men of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The character of 
the men, the circumstances under which they wrote, the 
revelations they make, the miracles they performed, and the 
prophecies they made lead me generally to this belief. 

" I believe from this sacred record in the existence of one 
•God — Infinite and Eternal — ^the only Creator of all things, 
and the only Lord of Providence. 

"I believe, according to the Scriptures, in the Three 
Persons in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; but 
as the Scriptures are silent on the nature of this mys- 
terious union of Three in One, it can only be a matter of 

" I believe that God created man in holy, happy, intelligent 
likeness to Himself. That man in that state was a iEree^ 

The Rev. JV. Gill's Autobiography. 27 

^oluntaiy being — ^his will and his affections being left to 
their own free, unconstrained, and. accountable exercise. 

" I believe that man continued in this holy, happy state 
of innocency but for a short period ; that, willingly yielding 
liimself to the influences of temptation, he disobeyed God's 
commandments, and rejected His government. In this act 
<ji rebellion, I believe, were all the principles of disobedience, 
and that by it the whole human family were naturally and 
practicaEy involved in transgression, condemnation, and 
Tuin, and utterly helpless, so far as regarded self-recovery 
and self-regeneration. 

" I believe the Scriptures reveal the plan of God's own 
mercy; revealed, at first, through the introductory dispen- 
:sation of Moses and the Prophets, until the coming of Jesus 
Christ, the Divine Eedeemer. 

"I believe the Scriptures declare that in Jesus Christ 
ivere united the perfect natures of God and man ; that by 
His obedience to God's law, and by His death, He at once 
Tjecame man's sacrifice and righteousness; and by His 
xesuarection the hopes of Christian faith are established, and 
the justification of the penitent sinner is sure. 

« I beheve that to be savingly interested in this great 
salvation men must be convinced of personal transgression, 
and trust alone on Christ by a Uving, loving faith. This is, 
in every instance, the effect of the operation of the Holy 
Spirit on the mind and heart, and that all such will, through 
grace, persevere imto perfect redemption in heaven, through 
Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father." 

'' How do you intend to prosecute your labours among the 
heathen ? " 

« In looking forward to the field of labour, and viewing the 
vastness of its extent, the nature of its duties, and its sacred 
obligations, my heart has often trembled, and asked, * Who 
is sufficient for these things ? ' And nothing but the con- 
viction that I am in the path of duty, and that my sufficiency 
is of God, would induce me to go forward in so sacred a 

" Depending on God's help, it will be my duty to acquire 

2 8 Selections from 

as good a knowledge of the language of the people as^ 
possible, so as to preach, and teach them, the truths and the 
doctrines of God's Word ; so unfold to them these truths as 
to lead them to abandon idolatry, and to accept the one 
God of Eevelation, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the only- 
Saviour. I hope also to pay good attention to the education 
of the young, both in secular and religious matters. In the 
acquisition of the language, I hope to be much aided by our 
excellent friend and father, the Kev. John Williams, while 
on the voyage. 

" In the administration of the ordinances of the Gospel, I 
hope to be preserved from all superstitious rites and 

" I trust my constant desire will be to live and labour in 
peace and co-operation with my brethren, and to pay 
deference to the counsel and the judgment of those whose 
age and experience claim such deference. 

" I hope ever to remember that consistency of character 
and conduct will be required of me in all things ; that justice 
and mercy, temperance and chastity, patience and humility, 
are graces and virtues which should be ever reflected in daily 
life among those where I am to labour ; and I hope, by God's 
mercy and help, so to be enabled to do, and to be persevering 
and faithful unto death. 

" Having made these statements, permit me to address 
especially those connected with this church and congregation, 
asking an interest in your prayers and a continuation of your 
affectionate sympathy. Some of your number are already in 
the ministry of the Gospel, and may many others be raised 
up. May the constant presence and blessing of God give 
you peace and prosperity, and to Him be all praise for ever. 

As usual, in those days, I received a Certificate of Ordina- 
tion, signed by the ministers who took part in the service. 
The following is a copy : — 

"This commendatory epistle is a testimony to all into 
whose hands it may come, that William Gill, of London, 
has prosecuted the studies both of human and Divine 


The Rev, W. Gill's Atitohiography. ig 

literature, and, from his known piety and good morals, has 
been introduced into holy orders, and, moreover, agreeably 
to the discipline of the Eeformed Churches, by prayer, and 
laying on of hands of the presbytery, was publicly ordained 
to the of&ce of preaching the Gospel among the worshippers 
of false gods. 

Given in Latin and English. 
London, October 12, 1837. 

" Arthur Tidman, Pastor. 

" Eichard Cecil, Tutor. 

" William S. Palmer, Pastor. 

" Nun Morgan Harry, Pastor. 

" James Drummond, Pastor. 

" John Hunt, Pastor. 

" Charles Mead, Missionary. 

" John Arundel, Pastor, and Secretary to L. M. S." 

Engagements before Sailing. 

After my ordination, unforeseen circumstances detained the 
Eev. John Williams. One or two ships had been seen, but 
up to the end of 1837 not one could be definitely fixed upon. 
At length the " Camden " was bought — a West India packet 
ship of some 250 tons burthen. Various engagements and 
preparations for the voyage occupied us imtil April, 1838. 
During these five months of waiting I was constantly engaged, 
sometimes attending meetings and preaching for the London 
Missionary Society, and at other times preaching for ministers 
in London, and elsewhere. Besides visiting Turvey again, 
and preaching at Andover, Whitchurch, Merton, St. Neots, 
Bedford, and Gravesend, in the country, I preached in London; 
at Stepney Meeting, Old Ford, Bread Street Chapel, Orange 
Street Chapel, Adelphi Chapel, Honduras Chapel, Horsely- 
down Chapel, Queen Street Chapel, and Barbican and Union 

On the 1st of April, 1838, 1 took farewell publicly of the 
friends at Barbican Chapel. Morning attended the service, 
Kev. A. Tidman preached ; afternoon I had a meeting with 
the whole school, and in the evening I preached my farewell 

30 The Rev. TV. Gill's Autohtography. 

sennon at Barbican Chapel. Text, Phil. iii. 8, " The excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Christ." 

Thus was brought to a close eight years of the most happy 
and important period of my life, conspicuously manifesting; 
the will and love of God in providence and grace. 

Departure of Mission Ship " Camden." 

The visit of Eev. John Williams to England, during 1835 
to 1838, was one of those events which God overrules for 
the revival of the Church's interest in foreign missions. Mr. 
Williams had for sixteen years been honoured to extend 
Gospel missions from the Tahitian Group onward to the Earo- 
tongan and the Samoan Groups, and his narrative of his work, 
especially in the Earotonga Island, had been most interest- 
ing. Now he was about to return, and was desirous of 
opening up the groups of Western Polynesia to Christian mis- 
sionaries. The Directors of the London Missionary Society 
had resolved to reinforce the mission. Already (in 1835) 
the Society had sent out the Eevs. Murray, Hardy, Mills, 
Brandon, Macdonald, and Heath to occupy the Samoan. 
Islands, recently opened by native teachers. And now, on 
his return, he was accompanied by Eevs. Day, Charter,. 
Eoyle, Stair, Stevens, Johnson, Thompson, Joseph, and 

On the 11th of April, 1838, we left London. Crowds of 
Christian friends met on London Bridge early in the morning 
to witness the departure of the " City of Canterbury'* Thia 
vessel conveyed some 500 friends, with our missionary party> 
to Gravesend, where the " Camden" was at anchor. 




The parting with parents and friends was indeed trying, yet 
there was much to cheer and sustain us. On reachinsr 
Gravesend our missionary party was arranged on the after 
part of the deck of the steamer. Hymns were sung, prayers 
were offered, and a short address was given. Then came the 
ordeal of shaking hands and bidding farewell to special loved 
ones. My dear pastor, and dear brother George, and dear- 
Mr. Devonshire were the last to leave us. 

That evening we went as far as Heme Bay, where we cast, 
anchor for the night. The Eev. E. Prout remained with us,. 
and conducted our evening devotions. 

On the morning of the next day we again set sail, and 
reached Dover. Many ministers and friends came on board ^ 
and, after many expressions of their sympathy toward us, we 
held a special service of prayer, and bade them farewell. 

On the following morning the pilot left us. By him we 
sent letters to dear parents and friends. 

Some of the letters written by my dear wife at this time, and 
on many subsequent occasions during the voyage, and while 
on our station, I have preserved, and desire that they may be 
copied in this record of our mission life. 

The first letter she wrote was when we were off Plymouth, 
April 14th, 1838. 

" My dear Mother, — 

<< As Mr. Front, who has accompanied ns hither, is going on 
shore, it gives me an opportunity to vrite just a line, and, &om the 
giddiness I feel in my head, it must indeed be short. I am thankful that 
I am 80 weU. I suffered yesterday, and the day before, but to-day am 

J 2 Selections from 

much better. I Hope, my dear Mother, you have been sustained and 
consoled in the surrender you have so willingly made. I can say I am 
•quite happy in the prospect that is before me. The struggle in parting 
was great, but I trust we shall all have reason to rejoice that it was put 
into our hearts thus to go. The Captain says we have accomplished in 
three days what ships are often three weeks in doing, that is, gettrng to 
Plymouth. Now we have almost a calm, and its comparative ease has, 
■after our illness, set us up again. This morning we had worship on 
-deck ; we shall be with you in spirit at to-morrow's services. Be not 
imhappy on our account God will still be gracious toward you 
•and us." 

" Dartmouth, 

« A^a 17th, 1838. 
" My deabest Motheb, — 

'' You will be surprised when you open this to find that we are 
once again on British ground. On Saturday morning I wrote a line. 
In the afternoon the wind changed, and the Captain thought it desirable 
^0 put into Dartmouth Harbour. On Sabbath evening Mr. Williams 
and two or three others went on shore, and on Monday several others. 
Afterwards Mrs. Joseph, Mrs. Day, and myself came on shore. I never 
would have believed that I should have f^t so little fear in a small boat 
more than a mile from shore. There were many Mends to welcome us. 
I have often heard of Devonshire hospitality, but little expected to 
experience it so fully in this way." 

We remained at Dartmouth until Wednesday evening, 
ivhen the wind becoming fair, we went on board, bearing 
with us most grateful recollections of much kindness and 
refreshing help of Christian friends there. 

The following week most of us very, very ill, and were only 
relieved after we had crossed the Bay of Biscay, on the 24th 
of April. 

On the 26th we were so far recovered and cheerful as to 
•decide on daily plans for study and recreation. We agreed 
to assemble for worship at eight a.m., to be in class with Mr. 
Williams for languages at ten a.m., to dine at one p.m. Meet 
Mr. Williams to read Earotonga, at three p.m. ; to close by 
singing a native hymn ; to take tea at six p.m., and to meet 
for worship at eight p.m. 

This plan was pretty closely adhered to during the whole 
of the voyage ; and, in addition, I commenced translating 
TVatts's ''Catechism" into the Karotongan language, being 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography^ 33 

anxLOus to gain as much knowledge of the lasgnage as pos- 
sible, so as early to commence my work on the island. 

On the morning of April 28th we were off Madeira; Sunday, 
29th, off Porto Santo. Had public service on deck, at which 
"we all gathered for the first time since we came on board. 

Porto Santo is a small island ; it has seven mountains ; the 
liighest rises some 2,000 feet. 

On May 2nd contrary winds and currents in calms had 
taken us more eastward than we desired; but we find by 
observations we are 170 miles from the north-west coast of 
AMca. This evening commenced a weekly prayer-meeting 
for all on board who can attend. 

On the evening of the 3rd of May formed ourselves into 
a chv/rck meeting, with a view to the commemoration of the 
Lord's Supper. We numbered twenty-eight members. Be- 
sides the missionaries and their wives, there were Mr. and 
Mrs. John Williams, jun.. Captain and Mrs. Morgan, the 
chief mate, the second mate, the steward, the steward's 
mate, and one of the crew. These Communion meetings were 
held monthly during the voyage, with the best results. 

On May the 5th had a good view of the " Peak of Teneriffe,*' 
rising 12,000 feet. A belt of cloud encircled it about half 
way, the other half appearing as in the sky. The weather 
was very fine, the vessel sailing eight knots an hour, and the 
thermometer standing at 71°. 

Sunday, May 6th. — This was a day of solemn interest. 
Eev. Wi Day preached in the morning, Eev. M. Charter 
in the afternoon, and in the evening the whole company 
assembled, and twenty-eight communed in the Lord's Supper ; 
Mr. Williams ' addressed the communicants, Mr. Stevens 
addressed the spectators. 

Early in the afternoon the poor native Marquesan man 

died. He had been ill many days, but we had hoped he 

would have been spared and have been blessed by Gospel 

truth, so as to have been made a blessing to his countrjonen. 

But God had otherwise ordained. As far as we could 

we endeavoured to make known to him Jesus the Saviour. 

On Monday morning, 10.30 a.m., we committed the body to 

the sea ; the ship's bell tolled a quarter of an hour before 


34 Selections from 

the service, Mr. Williams gave an address, a hymn was 
sung and prayer oflfered ; the day was one of much sacred 
interest, and, we hope, of usefulness to all on board. 

Monday, May 7th. — ^This evening we held a missionary 
prayer meeting, remembering the missionary meeting about 
to be held in England, the chief mate and one of the mission^ 
aries engaged in prayer, and I gave a missionary address. 

Notes from Diary. 

" May 10th. — ^In Lat. of Jamaica, and had many special 
memories of my dear friend Henry Eussell, who is labouring 
there for Christ ; God keep and bless him. We shall not 
meet again till in heaven we recount the wonders of God's 
providence, and celebrate the riches of His love." 

*' May 12th. — ^Ther. 77^ Wind very high, sea very rough, 
E. and I very ilL Last night one of the most wearisome 
nights on board/* 

"May 13th. — The sea calm, weather fine, all our friends 
much better. This morning Mr. Joseph preached, and this 
afternoon I preached from 1 Peter, chap, i., verse 8, * Whom 
having not seen, ye love.' " 

" May 14th. — ^We had a little sport to-day in fisliing. The 
heat very trjdng. Still in the midst of all I wish to improve 
time, and to-day commenced compiling a Dictionary of 
Earotongan and Tahitian words with English meanings. This 
exercise was useful, and of much value in after-days.' 


Speak with a Ship at Sea. 

"May 24, we crossed the Equator, At noon we were 
only twenty miles north, and in afternoon were south. In- 
stead of the usual follies observed on board ship on such 
occasions we, with full consent of all the crew, made the 
day an occasion of cheerful thankfulness. A holiday was 
given to the men ; nothing being done but that which was 

An entry on tlie voyage thus far made is as follows: — 
«*We have had a favourable passage; rather slow, 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 35 

storms, and not more than forty-eight hours' calm. We 
have not had to use much salt meat. Our health and 
cheer have been good, better than we could expect on 
board ship. I am deeply conscious of affection towards 
England, and dear friends ' and relatives there ; yet it seems 
strange that there should be so little sorrow or sadness at 
leaving them all. Surely God has answered prayer, and we 
should offer grateful praise." 

"June 5. — This morning, while at breakfast, we were 
much excited by the announcement of a ship, about two 
miles off. The captain hoisted a signal, expressing desire to 
'speak' with her. 

" It was a cheerful sight, though rather dangerous — so it 
seemed to us — to see the vessels come so near each other, 
and then 'lay to.' The large ship, an American whaler, 
450 tons, crossed the stem of our little vessel, about 
twenty yards distant. While the vessels were slowly passing 
each other, questions were asked and answered by means of 
ship trumpets, such as — ^What ship that ? Where from, and 
where bound? We then asked if the captain would take 
letters, and he, consenting, came on board,- and afterwards 
some of us visited his ship. This was our first venture in a 
small boat. We found it had been out thirty months. The 
whaler had no passengers ; but thirty-two men as crew. There 
were two Italians, two West Indians, and four native Mar- 
quesans. We gave a supply of tracts, and talked to many of 
the men about our mission to the heathen, and urged them 
to attend to religious concerns. All were kind to us, and 
many seemed much pleased with our visit. We returned to 
our vessel, and the captain of the whaler returned to his, 
taking letters that were ready for England. He promised to 
report our progress and welfare in the ' Missionary Eeporter,' 
on his arrival in America. This exchange of friendship was 
a pleasant recreation to us." 

Progress in Native Dictionary. 

During most of the time I had been able so to work on the 

Dictionary as to complete the letter " E." It required much 

patience and perseverance to plod on in the work. The 


36 The Rev. IV. Gili's Autobiography. 

doctor sometimes used to scold me for being in the cabin so 
much. He said too much, and sometimes would darken the 
" bull's-eye light ;" but I generally kept my work within the 
appointed time. 
The form of Dictionary was as follows : — 

JEn^liah. Barotonffan. TahUian. 

Faith Akabongo Faaroo. 




A LONG, but not unpleasant, voyage of twelve weeks brought 
us off the Cape of Good Hope. Jt being the stormy 
season, the captain decided to double the Cape, as the wind 
was fair, and made for " Simon's Bay." On Sunday morning, 
July 1st, at 5.30, we were gladdened by the announcement 
of being ti/ear land. On going on deck, it appeared to us 
that we were dangerously near. The perpendicular mountains 
rose majestically out of the sea, and soon surrounded us, 
giving us a placid lake in which to cast anchor. The effect 
was most exciting and charming. Simon's Town looked very 
pretty, like 911 English sea-side village, only that the houses 
had flat roofs. 

We had scarcely cast anchor when an officer from the 
flag ship, stationed in the harbour, came off to us, and de- 
manded the style of passengers, and cargo. On being 
answered, " Missionaries and Bibles," he appeared quite con- 
fused ; but being assured such was the case, he made an 
official entry as such, and we were then at liberty to land. 

As soon as possible the whole ship's company were 
assembled for a service of thanksgiving to God for His good- 
ness and care bestowed upon us thus far, and to seek His 
guidance and blessing during our stay. 

A letter from my dear wife to her parents will show her 
feelings up to this date : — 

« June 21th, 1838. 

" It is with mingled feelings I now write to you. I feel what it is in 
reality to be separated from those who are so dear. I cannot sometimes 
restrain tears of affection, but I know it is possible for nature to weep, 
while at the same time the spirit has not one feeling of regret, yea, can 
even rejoice. I do rejoice that God has counted me worthy to be 

3 8 Selections from 

engaged in this embassy of mercy, and my constant prayer shall be, that 
He may be glorified in ns and by us at all times. When I am some- 
times depressed on your account, the remembrance of that willing 
surrender you were enabled to make of one so dear to you alleviates my 
distress, and dispels all gloom. I am assured the same grace that was 
imparted, in circumstances so trying, will now, in an eminent degree, be 
made numifest in binding up the wounded spirit, and pouring the oil of 
joy into your hearts. You, my dear mother, will feel anxious to know 
something about our voyage, and to you every incident will be interest- 
ing. On April 18th we took leave of our kind friends at Dartmoutk. 
The same day we passed ^Eddystone Lighthouse '—this was my last 
long look at dear old England, and we felt that we were fast hastening 
from our country and friends. It is cheering to know that our Divine 
Friend is with us, and that, while He is the * confidence of the ends of 
the earth,' He is the same to those * afar off upon the sea.' This promise 
is being verified in our case, for, from the time we left until now, we 
sing of His mercy and goodness. We have had service twice every 
Sabbath, and in the evening a prayer-meeting. I have wished my dear 
mother present many times, just to witness our little assembly number- 
ing about forty persons. We have also a prayer-meeting every Wednes- 
day, and Church members' meetings once a month. These often prove 
seasons of refreshing. The day we crossed the equator the men hlul a 
holiday, and in the morning Mr. Williams gave an address from the 
Ps. clxvii., 23, 24 — * They that go down to the sea,' &c. 

• * « • 

" On Sabbath morning, July 1st, we were told Icmi was in sight. 
None but those who have been at sea can form an idea of the interest 
such a sound produces. We were soon all on deck. In the afternoon, 
about half-past four, we dropped anchor in * Simon's Bay;' a small boat, 
belonging to the Government, came off to see who we were, and to make 
inquiries about our cargo. When Mr. Williams told them it consisted 
of Missionaries and Bibles, the officers smiled and took their departure. 
In the evening Mr. Williams and several others went ashore, and Mr. 
Williams preached in the small chapel ; those who remained on board 
held our usual service. Monday we all went on shore, and it would be im- 
possible to describe my feelings. I had felt very anxious to go, as though 
I should see some face I knew ; but all were strangers ; either Dutch, or 
coloured people ; very few English. We went to the house of a Dutch 
gentleman, where we met with a cordial reception. We then took a long 
walk, which was very refreshing after being confined on board ship nearly 
three months without any exercise. We climbed one of the moun- 
tains and had a beautiful view of the surrounding country ; it was indeed 
magnificent. In the evening we went to the chapel ; it is a neat pretty 
place, but there was a small congregation. I closed my eyes several times 
and tried to imagine myself in Barbican, as they sang several hynms and 
tunes which we used to sing. Mr. Stevens opened the sen^lce, Mr. Day 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 39 

"preached, Mr. Johnston gave out the hymns, and WiUiam concluded. 
Tuesday we left Simon's Town for Cape Town, twenty miles distant. 
Mr. Williams had gone the day before in order to send conveyances. 
We had two vans, each drawn by eight horses. On the way we called at 
an inn called * The Sheplverd of Salisbury Plain,^ The landlord was an 
Englishman, and was pleased to see us. The first part of this journey, 
•on the sea beach, was thoroughly delightfuL We met a great 
number of negroes working on the road, and also some convicts. At 
•Cape Town we were met by the Rev. Dr. Phillip, and Mrs. Locke and 
others ; we dined, and then went to our respective places of temporary 
abode. It was my intention to send more letters with this, by a vessel 
that is leaving for England to-morrow. I did not like to let the oppor- 
tunity slip, so you will see that this has been written in a hurried 
manner. The first part I had commenced at sea. Remember us to all 
friends, and that peace may reign in your heart continually is my con- 
stant prayer.'' 

« « « « 

My journal refers to these particulars in the following 
summary : — 

Cape Town being twenty-four miles distant, we could not 
«end to Eev. Dr. PhilUp that night, so many of us landed at 
Simon's Town, where we attended the Wesleyan Mission 
*chapel, and made ourselves known. We were most kindly 
Teceived, and Eev. Mr. Williams preached. 

After service a Dutch gentleman-farmer and merchant took 
us to his house, gave us supper, and supplied us with all in- 
formation needed for our journey to Cape Town. We then 
iv^ent off to our ship for the night. 

Early the following morning, Mr. Williams hired a convey- 
;ance to take him to Cape Town to announce our arrival, 
:and to arrange for our accommodation. We supposed we 
might remain two or three weeks before proceeding on our 
voyage. During the day we rambled up the mountains, saw 
:a Hottentot village of native " kraals," and in the evening 
Tield a missionary service in the Wesleyan chapel. 

Next morning two waggons came from Cape Town to take 
i)ur party and baggage there. Each waggon was much longer 
than our English waggons. Our drivers were young Hot- 
tentots. The first seven miles was by the sea, on a wide 
«andy heach. We crossed the beds of two rivers, which, in 
the rainy season, are often impassable. At one place we saw 

40 Selections from 

heaps of bones of whales and cattle, which had been deyoured 
by the wolves — said to meet here by hundreds at night. 

Eeach Cape Town. 

About three miles on our journey from the sea-beach we 
came to a roadside inn. We were much amused at the sign 
of this inn — a painted figure, called " The Gentle Shepherd of. 
Salisbury Plain." Underneath the figure were these lines : — 

^ Life's but a joumej ; let us live well on the road, 
Says the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. 
Multum in panro ! Pro bono publico, 
Entertainment for man and beast in a row. 
Lekber kost as much as you please ; 
Excellent beds, without any fleas ; 
Nos patriam fugimus ! Now we are here, 
Vivamus, let us live by selling of beer. 
On donne ^ boire et & manger ici, 
Come in and try it, whoever you be." 

We were amused much at this learned exhortation, and 
availed ourselves of lunch at the inn. The landlord had 
lived here twenty years. He was much taken with our 
party, and served a good lunch, but we thought him rather 
high in his charges. Leaving this place we found the road 
much better than the former part, and we reached Cape Towa 
at 4.30. Here we were met by Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Phillip. 

It was with some difficulty that accommodation was pro- 
vided for our large party, but at length aU were located, aa 
comfortably as could be, in houses of friends more or less inu 
sympathy with our Mission. 

Cape Town and its Population. 

Cape Town is a larger and prettier town than we had 
expected to see. The streets are built at right angles, ver\- 
wide, having deep rows of trees on either side, and streams of 
water flowing towards the sea. The houses are generally 
three stories high, and the rooms large and airy. There are 
about 13,000 inhabitants; a large number are Dutch and half- 
caste, Tor the English and Dutch speaking people we found 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 4? 

an English Episcopal church, and a Lutheran Dutch churchy 
a Dutch Eeformed church, and Wesleyan, Independent, and. 
Scotch chapels. 

We were surprised to find so little Christian sympathy and 
effort made to meet the ignorance and degradation of the: 
native population of the town. There is no church or chapel 
for them, so far as we could learn. Recently one excellent 
man devoted himself as missionary to their welfare ; and it is- 
to "be desired that the formal, cold, proud, distant way in 
which English and Dutch Christians treat the poor Malays 
and Hottentots and negroes may soon be exchanged for spirit 
and conduct more consistent with the temper and aim of 
Christianity. We visited some Hottentot villages near Cape 
Town, but the people there are distinct from those of the^ 

I preserved the following letter sent to my parents — 

« JttZy \U\ 1838. 

** My dear Father and Mother, — 

" I did not expect another opportunity of writing, but this- 
moming Captain Kamsey, a most devoted Christian, called to say that- 
he is to leave to-morrow moming at sunrise, and would gladly take 
charge of letters, at the same time promising that Mrs. Eamsey should 
call and see you. 

" It is Sabbath evening, and we are aU lodging at a house where there 
are but few conveniences for writing, but I feel confident that a letter 
will be acceptable. You will have heard of our prosperous voyage 
hitherto. Truly Gk)d has answered prayer which has been offered on 
our behalf. The comfort of bur voyage, I think, can never be surpassed, 
and the winds and the waves have indeed been commissioned with our 
safety, and we would rely with implicit confidence on the guidance of 
Him who has so mercifully performed all things for us. On Wednesday 
last we left Cape Town for Simon's Bay ; the expense of lodgings. 
induced us thus to leave earlier than we at first intended. Mr. Williams 
expected that our vessel would be ready to receive us, but, on our 
arrival, we found all in confusion and much more work to be done 
before we could set sail for Sydney. Therefore we have been obliged to 
engage apartments here, which are even more expensive than at Cape^ 
Town. Our visit, on the whole, has been good. We are all refreshed 
and strengthened by this stay on land, and we have found it good to- 
hold intercourse with friendjs. 

* • » • . 

To-day is Sabbath, and we have had delightful opportunities of ChristiaiL 

42 Selections from 

services. This morning we attended at quarter-past nine the Wesleyan 
chapel, where we heard a young missionary of Cape Town ; the subject 
was : * To you who believe He is precious.' At eleven o'clock we left 
the chapel and went to the church, where we heard a truly good 
«ermon from the Rev. J. Fraser, a devoted clergyman. 

" This evening we again attended the Wesleyan chapel. Simon's Tovra 
is but a small place ; it has about 18,000 inhabitants, most of whom are 
Malays, or Negro Hottentots, the other part Dutch. The moral 
•condition of the place is very low ; the cheap price of wine and beer is a 
great evil to the place. Wine may be had at fourpence per bottle, the 
best is but ninepence, and beer fourpence. You must send out more 
labourers — ^the world is given into the hands of the Church. If you 
could but see what we see here, I am sure you would think with me 
that England has not done its duty towards this colony. At Cape Town 
there is a standing army, with slaves ; thirty-six are stationed at this 
«mall town, but only one preacher of the truth, and he so shackled that 
be cannot act as he would with the good people of the place. As a 
nation you are indebted much to Africa. 

" We sail on Tuesday morning. May the good hand of our God still 
lead us. It is now midnight, I must close. I do not consider this a 
letter, though I shall mark it as one. Kindest love to you both. Be 
not unhappy about us. God is with us. All is well.'' 

Leave Africa. 

After nineteen days' rest, diversity, and recreation, we were 
^lad to find ourselves again on board our ship-home. An 
addition to our number has been made by Mr. and Mrs. 
Buchanan, who had been engaged at Cape Town to proceed to 
Samoa to take charge of normal schools about to be com- 
menced there. We could iU spare room for these friends in 
our already crowded vessel. But a cabin was fitted up for 
them in the forepart, and we made the best arrangements we 
-could for their accommodation. 

Our stores from England began to fail, and so great was 
the price of provisions at the Cape that we could not " lay 
in " all that we really needed. 

While at the Cape we were in perplexity with some of 
the sailors, especially with two young men whose pious 
parents had gained for them situations on board our ship, 
lioping the influence would be of good to them. For some 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 43 

weeks before reaching the Cape they had manifested in- 
subordination, and wliile there they behaved so badly that the 
captain was led to give them the dismissal they demanded. 
As missionaries we felt much for these young foolish men. 
But as passengers, we and the captain were put to the incon- 
venience of taking two others in Simon's Bay, who by their 
conduct gave us no little trouble and sorrow. 

On leaving the Bay one of the ship's boats got adrift, and 
going after it in the darkness of night we were in danger, as 
the wind was high, the sea was rough, and sunken rocks 
were in our passage. 

A Week's Incident of Calm and Storm. 

Proceeding on our way notliing of unusual moment occxuTed 
to interfere with the ordinary routine of classes, exercise, and 
cabin duties until during the first week of August, when 
we were becalmed. Daily we had a large number of sea 
birds over and around the ship. Mr. John Williams, jun., suc- 
ceeded in catching a fine molly-mauke, seven feet wide across 
the wing. After this capture the birds were more shy. One 
morning Mr. Williams shot a Cape pigeon, and in lowering the 
boat for it, Mr. Williams caught his hand in the ropes and 
the block, so that in an instant the nail and part of the third 
finger of the left hand were clean cut off. Before he could be 
got into the ship he had fainted, and thus the pleasurable 
excitement of the morning was turned into sorrow and 

The first Sunday in August, as result of God's blessing on 
our Bible-class with the crew, one of them wished to make 
profession of his love to Christ by imiting with us at the 
Lord's Table. 

After a week's calm, we had a change in excess of wind, 
the ship sailed ten knots an hour, and the sea rose so high as 
to break over the bulwarks ; some who were on deck, at one 
time, were in danger of being washed overboard. 

44 ^^^ R^' W^ GilPs Autobiography. 

A Feabful Hurricake. 

The Biglit of 8th Angust was one of utmost alarm and 
danger. During the day there had been warnings of the 
approach of a hurricane. The captain had taken the pre- 
caution to batten down all the hatchways^ to avoid the sea 
waves rushing below as they broke on the deck. At four in 
the morning we were alarmed by the flooding of some fifty 
tons of water on the deck, and all was consternation. Every 
timber of our little vessel trembled with the bursting of each 
successive mighty wave. The only safety was in "heaving to/* 
which, to do in such a storm, is considered dangerous. The 
captain decided to try, and, through mercy, succeeded. One of 
our sailors, em officer, reefing the sails, became exhausted, and 
for some time was in great danger. Never shall I forget 
just peeping up through the " companion staircase " on the 
boiling, surging sea ; it rose mountain high, and the wind 
howled most fearfully. On looking in Mr. Williams's cabin, 
I found him sitting on the side of the berth weeping. He 
scarcely expected we should survive the storm. Passing the 
cabin of Eev. Thos. Joseph, I found him emptying his large 
sea-chest of its contents, intending, as soon as he found the 
vessel going down, to make the chest his coffin I 

This storm continued three days and nights ; all live stock 
on deck was washed away. But God in mercy kept us in 
peace and delivered us. 

For many days after the storm we were much exhausted, 
especially our wives. We did not recover till we entered the 
" straits," a passage, which we took for convenience, between 
the coasts of Australia and Van Dieman's Land. Here 
we had days of fine weather, a fair wind, and much enjoyed 
the views of the coast of the mainland, and the evening 
breezes were generally laden with the most fragrant 




On the lOth September, just five months from England, we 
reached Sydney harbour, where we cast anchor for the night, 
and the next morning we moved up the cove to a position 
near the town. From the fulness of a grateful heart we 
endeavoured to give thanks to God for His constant care and 
sustaining love, and with loving constraint we made a 
renewed surrender of ourselves to His service. 

Early in the forenoon of the 11th September we were 
gratified by a visit from the Rev. W. Crook, who was 
one of the first missionaries sent by the London Missionary 
Society to Tahiti He came out in the ship "Dujfr Arrange- 
ments were speedily and cheerfully made to receive us and 
our large party on shore free of charge to the Society. 

Our denomination was then very low. The Eev. Mr. 
Jarrett had left for England, and most of the Independents 
were in fellowship with the Baptists, under the ministry of 
the liberal and worthy Kev. Mr. Sanders. Urged by the 
circumstances of the case, Mr. Williams and others were led to 
send a letter to the London Colonial Society, commending 
Sydney to the immediate consideration of the Committee, 
which led to their sending out the Eev. Dr. Eoss, who, for 
many years, laboured so successfully there, both in the 
interests of the colony and the islands. 

We were detained in Sydney longer than we had wished, 
awaiting the arrival of ships from England, which were bring- 
ing out many of our supplies. The delay, however, was 
most pleasantly employed in various ways of usefulness, in 
visiting the churches of the colony, and attending missionary 
and other meetings. 

46 Selections from 

It fell to my lot to preach every Sunday during our stay 
and to attend two or three week-evening services. 

We saw something of the degraded natives, and were sorry 
that no efforts had been made to improve their condition. 
Still more did it grieve us to see the wretched convicts from 
England. We visited their stations and preached to them. 

Visit to Newcastle. 

During my stay in Sydney, I visited the friend of my 
youth, George Alfred Lloyd. He was led to leave parents 
and friends. The departure was as painful as it was unex- 
pected. One of those events we call mysterious ; but God 
was ruling all. 

Alfred had left Sydney, and taken a farm of 300 acres. 
His widowed mother had joined him on the farm, on the 
banks of the Williams Eiver, which, at Raymond Terrace, 
near Newcastle, joins Hunters River. 

October Ist found me on board a local steamer, voyaging 
about seventy miles along the coast to Newcastle. On the 
morning of the 2nd I was met by Alfred. At his log-house 
met again Mrs. Lloyd, who, during the past few years, had 
passed through much trial ; but now happy, industrious, and 

Alfred had taken the farm on five years' lease. His first 
crops of Indian com, wheat, and potatoes, &c., were growing, 
and he had in service eight convicts from Government. 

Here I remained a week, visiting farms and taking services 
at the several stations. Frequently we were out late 
at night; returning, on horseback, through by-roads and 
forests. Tales of bush-rangers' outrages sometimes made 
us feel uncomfortable; but no harm befell us. Our stay 
there was one of peculiar interest. Often did we review 
the past of our life with gratitude and praise to God, and 
in the review we were encouraged to put our trust in Him 
whose presence would abide. 

Early in the morning we left the farm ; came in a boat to 
Raymond Terrace, where Alfred and I again parted. I took 
steamer at 9.30; reached Newcastle at 1 P.M., and arrived at 
Sydney at 11.30, 

The Rev. TV. Gill's Autobiography. 47 

It was our good fortune to attend the first Sydnejr 
Horticultural Show — a beautiful display of flowers and 
fruits. Much of the society, and many of the customs and 
institutions of the place, made us feel as if we were in 
England; and our stay was doubly pleasant, after so long: 
and tedious a voyage, and especially on the near prospect, 
of our separation from all English society. 

Our presence as missionaries in company with Mr. Williams 
created quite a stir in Sydney, and much interest was excited 
in all classes of the population in us and in our work. At 
our farewell missionary meetings the chapel was crowded to 
overflowing. The Governor was present, to whom Mr. 
Williams gave a copy of the first edition of the New Testa- 
ment in the Earotongan language, and nearly £400 was- 
collected for the funds of the London Missionary Society. 

Some ten days before we left, friend Alfred, to our joyful 
surprise, put in an appearance. He could not resist the 
desire to see the " Camden!' 

Leaving Sydney. 

The 25th of October was to us a repetition of leaving; 
England. The friends of all churches assembled in large 
numbers. Especial interest was also given to our departure, 
inasmuch as two excellent missionaries, Messrs. Hunt and 
Calvert, of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, had just arrived, 
and were proceeding as the first English missionaries to the 
Fiji Group. These brethren and their wives were going to 
the group in the little schooner, "ZetUia." It was therefore 
arranged that the "Camden" and the **Letitia" should drop 
down to the Heads, seven miles distant, and that the= 
London Missionary Society and the Wesleyan missionaries^ 
and friends should follow in a steamer. The largest vessel in 
the harbour was secured, and weU filled with kind Christian 
friends ; we proceeded to our respective vessels. 

On leaving, the Baptist minister, whom we had learnt to 
love, gave out the hymn, " Jesus, at Thy command we launch 
into the deep." On reaching the " Zetitia" another hymn waa 
sung, and the Wesleyan minister offered prayer; then the 

Selections from 

l)retliTen Hunt and Calvert went on board their little 
vesseL As they left us we sang, ** Ye messengers of Christ.** 
At 2 P.M. all our party were put on board the " Camden;'^ 
last farewells were spoken, and the steamer steamed round 
us, and while doing so we joined with them in singing our 
last hymn, ''Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in 
Christian love." 

Sydney to Samoa. 

On leaving Sydney harbour the wind failed us, and, the 
ship drifting towards shore, the captain cast anchor. This 
was not unattended with danger in forty-five fathoms of water; 
T)ut it was our only hope of safety from shipwreck. Thus we 
were all night; but the morning brought us a light breeze, 
And we were soon proceeding with a fair wind, but rough sea, 
towards the island. 

During this part of our voyage notes from the journal 
record: — ^"October 29. — ^Have had a long talk with a lad 
from Earotonga, brought from Sydney. I find, after all my 
reading and writing in the language during the voyage, that 
I shall have much to learn before I shall be able to preach to 
the people. I long to be there and mingle with them, and 
thus to learn the language." 

November 1. — ^This forenoon fell in with a whaling ship — 
three months from Sydney, and had only obtained seven or 
eight tons of oil. We had recently seen a tine shoal of 
43perm whales. This we told the captain, who soon left us to 
so in the direction indicated. 


November 4, Sunday. — This has been a day of much 
enjoyment. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Day preached from 
texts : — '' Draw me, and I will run after Thee ; " and " Open 
thy mouth wide and I will fill it." In the evening we held 
our Communion service. It has been a day of refreshing. 

November 17, Saturday. — Calms and light winds continued 
till yesterday during aU this week ; we are now, however, 
sailing at eight knots an hour. On Wednesday we had a 
pleasant visit to an American ship. There we found a native 
of New Zealand, whose father was a native missionary. We 

The Rev. IVi Gill's Autobtograpky. 49 

^were pleased to find lie could read and write. We invited 
iihe captain, and as many of the crew as could leave the ship, 
to come on board to attend our missionary prayer-meeting. 
We also found a native from Tahiti, who well knew 
Mr. Williams. This friendly intercourse at sea was very 
pleasant. On the following day we fell in with another ship, 
having on board a native youth of Savage Island. Thirteen 
years ago Mr. Williams had visited that island ; but as yet 
no entrance has been gained for missions. This youth was 
much interested in all he saw on board our ship, especially 
with the crew. He wished to remain with us, but the captain 
would not consent. 




November 23. — ^This morning, with lovely South Sea 
weather, and to our great joy, we made TutuQa, an island 
of the Samoan group. We entered Pangopango harbour. 
The scenery was most lovely; mountains on either side, 
some 3,000 feet high, and the sea of the harbour as smootli 
as a lake. We had not long cast anchor before seven or 
eight canoes came off to us, bringing the first South Sea 
Islanders we had seen in their native state. Alas ! how de~ 
graded ! What a contrast to the lovely scenes of land — 
" where every prospect pleases ! " Most of the natives were 
naked ; some few had leaves round their waists. As we 
looked at them we were much shocked, and were led to- 
doubt whether such as these could ever be instructed and 

Here we were cheered to find our missionary friends^ 
Eev. A. Murray and wife. They had resided here about 
twelve months, and were just beginning to know the people 
and the language. Another missionary, Mr. Barnden, was 
located at Leone, about twenty-four miles distant, 

Mr. and Mrs. Murray left England in November, 1835. An 
eight months' voyage brought them and their necessaries to 
Samoa, since which time they had had no English supplies. 
We found them in a most destitute condition — ^with health 
much impaired. Tlie birth of their first-bom had added to 
their trials. We cannot too highly speak of the patience and 
heroism with which our friends bore their trials, and the way 
in which they spoke of them. 

Mr. Murray's was the only house at all fit for occu- 
pation. The native houses resembled the roofs of hay- 

The Rev. W. GiWs Autpbtography. 51 

stacks, with open sides ; but, as tliis was the first mission 
station we had seen, we did our best to feel interested in 
the natives. But everything was so novel, and the semi- 
heathen state of the people more degraded than we had 
expected, that we felt the need of increased love towards 
them, and more faith to believe that they could become what 
we had heard the eastern islanders now were by the reception 
of the Gospel. 

A day or two after our arrival we were invited to meet 
the chiefs and people. It was the occasion of a feast. Pigs 
were cooked, and there was an abundance of native fruits. 
Presents of native food and cloth were made to us, and the 
chiefs and people who had received the Gospel expressed 
their gratitude. 

November 25, Sunday. — Our new circumstances had led us 
to anticipate with some interest the services of the day with 
the few — say 200 — ^natives who then attended. The house 
used as a chapel had been built for heathen dancing. Most 
of us attended, but the service was rude and exciting. Many 
of the natives were aU but naked, their attempts at singing 
were noisy, and the whole, to us, a jargon of an unknown 
language. I, with others of our number, was very weak and 
out of sorts; the sudden heat and change of climate — ^the 
closeness of the harbour, with mountains 2,000 to 3,000 feet 
hiffh on either side — ^the interest and excitement in the 
novelty of the situation — and use of native food, had quite 
overcome us. As this was not to be our permanent resting- 
place, we were not sorry to leave it, and set sail for the Island 
of XJpolu. 

Upolu is a large island about sixty miles west of Tutuila. 
Here we were to leave some of our number, and to await 
the arrival of a vessel from Sydney which had been engaged 
to bring down the goods that the " Qamden " could not 

November 27. — ^Landed at Apia, Upolu. The heat 

great. Thermometer 89** in the shade. On nearing Apia 

harbour Eev. Mr. Mills came to us, and gave us a gladsome 

welcome. He and all the missionaries were in a sad state of 

destitution, having had no supplies since their arrival. As 


5 2 Selections from 

soon as convenient we went on shore. A large round house — 
a "public building " — with open sides, was granted by the chief 
for our abode as long as we stayed. This house was about 
ninety feet round, having a fine thatched roof fixed on some 
twenty posts, and was situated only thirty or forty feet from 
the beach. It was resolved to divide its area into twelve 
compartments by divisions of green cocoa-nut branches. A 
broad space in the middle left us a dining-room and general 
hall. Under the circumstances this arrangement was pretty 
comfortable during the day, but at night was almost in- 
supportable. • What with the heat when the sea breeze left 
us, the very heavy rain-like dews, the spray from the sea, 
the roving about of pigs through the place, the clattering 
noise of land crabs, and the millions of flies, of which the 
sand seemed full, we dreaded the time to retire. But this 
we had to endure nearly six weeks. More than one of 
our number contracted illness from which they never got 

December 2. — This morning an attempt was made to 
preach to natives of a heathen village near, but a hearing 
could not be gained. At 9 a.m. Mr. Bamden preached to 
about 300 natives outside our hall, and Mr. Murray preached 
in the afternoon to a greater number. Mr. Barnden preached 
in English to us in the hall ; Isaiah xxxv. 1, " The wilderness 
and the solitary place shall be glad for them ; " and in the 
evening we held a prayer-meeting. During the afternoon I 
took my Bible, and went alone some little distance inland, 
sat by the side of a fine stream, and there read, thought, 
gave thanks, and prayed. I tried to realize how many were 
our mercies ; how strange were our circumstances in the 
presence of these heathen people ; and how great the work 
before us ! Our only consolation and hope is in the Lord 
our strength. 

In a few days the whole staff of missionary brethren 
reached us from their various stations. They were Messrs. 
Mills, Murray, Hardy, Heath, Barnden, McDonald; Mr. 
Stair, printer, and Mr. Day. 

December 4. — ^A meeting was held of all the missionaries 
at which the whole affairs of the Mission were taken into 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 53 

serious consideration, and several important resolutions were 

It is encouraging to notice at this early period of the 
Samoan Mission the good that had attended the labours of 
the native teachers; so that at the close of 1838 Eev. W. 
Murray, after two years* residence, was able to write the 
following interesting letter : — 

"With regard to the conversion of souls to God, we are not without 
encouragement. Our little church consists of fifteen members, who 
* adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour ; ' and many' more are 
professedly, some evidently, under conviction. Among our members 
are several individuals who afford striking illustration of the power of 
the blessed Gospel to subdue and transform the vilest and most hardened 
of mankind. One man, named Tausaga, who formerly lived on Aunuu, 
a small island close to Tutuila, but who now lives here for the sake of 
the Gospel, was notoriously wicked — the terror of the place where he 
lived — the originator of wars — the fomenter of quarrels — ^the murderer 
of not a few, and the perpetrator of almost every species of wickedness. 
At our last church-meeting this person, who affords very unequivocal 
evidence that he has been created anew, was received into fellowship. 
It was a most interesting occasion. Almost all present had known him 
in his former character, and were deeply affected by the wonderful 
change that had been produced ; affected with wonder and admiration 
at what God had wrought ; and they rejoiced to welcome into their 
fellowship this * brand plucked out of the burning.' To myself, also, 
it was deeply interesting and impressive to see with my own eyes those 
who so lately were hating and murdering one another weeping tears of 
joy * over one sinner who had repented.' If there be joy in heaven at the 
repentance of one sinner in ordinary circumstances, with what emotion 
must the inhabitants of that blessed world have witnessed this scene ! 

" The case of another individual, named Taulagi, well deserves notice. 
The description given above applies pretty accurately to him, only he 
has been more extensively known, and has carried on his deeds of 
darkness on a more extensive scale. He is superior to Tausaga in point 
of talent, and is a much younger man. He is now a teacher, and will, 
I trust, soon be an efficient preacher of the blessed Gospel. Thus 
powerfully is the arm of the Lord revealed in this distant land ; — 
revealed in such a way as to arrest the attention of the very heathen, 
and draw from them the acknowledgment that it must be the power of 
God, as nothing else could produce such effects. 

*'The case of another of the members of our little society, Matthew 
Hunkin, an English runaway seaman, is deeply interesting. I spoke of 
him in a former communication, as being in a hopeful condition ; and I 
now rejoice to be able to state that ever since that period he has continued 
to evince the character of a Christian. He was formerly very wicked 

54 Selections from 

but is now, and has "been for many months past, very decided in his 
piety ; his efforts to promote the faith he once laboured to destroy are 
untiring. He acts as teacher at Vaitogi, a krge settlement about nine 
miles from Pagopago ; comes here every week for instruction ; and 
receives an appointment for the Sabbath, along with the native teachers. 
Jlis heart is very much set on missionary work, and he is, on the whole, 
very promising. One native has already been hopefully converted by 
his instrumentality ; and the general influence of his conversion and 
subsequent conduct on the natives, and also on foreigners living on this 
island, has been of the happiest kind. let us not fail to adore the 
wisdom and goodness of our gracious God in raising up this individual 
at a time when help was so much needed ! and let us be encouraged, 
too, to persevere in our efforts for the salvation of the vilest and most 
hopeless of the human race. 

" The death of Manga, the old chief who took us under his protection 
on our first arrival, will, I trust, prove an occasion of good to the island. 

"We had hopes that his son Pomare would have succeeded him. 
Pomare might, indeed, have done so had he wished ; but, by the grace 
of God, his heart is set on another Kingdom, and he pants after honours 
and distinctions of < another kind than those connected with any earthly 
station, even the most exalted. His eyes have been opened to behold 
the glories of Calvary, and these have eclipsed ' the kingdoms of this 
world, and the glory of them.' 

" But this will appear more clearly from an account of what transpired 
at our May meeting, which was held at Leone, on the last Wednesday 
of the month. The large chapel was quite crowded. After singing and 
prayer, several individuals successively addressed the meeting. The 
subject of Missions formed the leading topic, and many earnest appeals 
were made on behalf of those who know not the Gospel. Amuamu, a 
chief of considerable importance, formerly a great warrior, and the 
person who gave brother Williams such a cordial and spirited reception 
when he first visited Leone, said, * Let us see that this meeting do not 
pass like our former May meetings, without any end (result or issue) to 
it. Let us go to work, and, if we live to see another May, let each 
come with his offering, — ^let it be arrow-root, cocoa-nut oil, cinet, native 
cloth or mats.' 

" Pomare, after speaking on various points of interest, said, * I will 
now disclose my own desire before this assembly, before God, and before 
the missionary. I have given my soul to Jesus to be saved by Him ; 
with Him I leave it, and I now place my body at the disposal of the 
missionary. I am willing to go to any land of darkness to which He may 
send me. My desire is to die in the cause of JesuS; who was crucified 
for me. I wish to do the work of God, and I am willing to go to any 
savage land, or to remain in our own land. I leave it with the 
missionary ; let him choose.' This language would have been affecting 
from any one; but from one who but a few days before had in his 

The Rev, Wi Gill's Autobiography. 55 

ipbwer the most exalted worldly station His native island knows, it came 
with peculiar weight Nor was it the language of mere temporary 
excitement ; for, after some days had passed, and having consulted with 
his wife, Pomare repeated the same sentiments in public, and also to me 
in private. His wife is a member of our church, and is equally devoted 
with himself. He is Ww, with several others, under instruction, and is 
■very usefully employed in teaching and exhorting his own countrymen." 

Christmas Day at Samoa, 

December 25.-^We were still in the native house on the 
'beach, and ill prepared to persuade ourselves that it was 
Christmas Day. Tlie heat was oppressive, and our social 
'Circumstances not much in harmony with an English Christ- 
mas. But the wives of the brethren who remained with us 
contrived to improvise something like a fair dinner for the 
•day. It was resolved that, after dinner, two of the brethren, 
Mr. Day and Mr. Buchanan, should proceed to their respec- 
tive stations. • The former was proceeding to Faaleifaa, twenty 
miles distant, and I, glad of the opportunity of seeing the 
.stations, accompanied him under the escort of Messrs. Hardy 
.and Charter. "We went in a canoe for six miles, wlien Mr. 
Hardy and I landed, and allowed Mr. Day to proceed outside 
the reef. Mr. Hardy proposed to walk to Faaleifaa, as a 
shorter way; but before we reached the midway village, 
Solusolu, the sun had set, and we were quite exhausted. 
Here we were obliged to remain. The memory of that night 
is still most vivid : the wild appearance of the natives, kind 
indeed, but unable to supply us with food we could eat ; the 
hot damp air ; the grass floor ; and the swarms of mosquitoes. 
Alas ! alas I our hall at Apia was bad, but this could hardly 
be endured. Seeing my exhausted state, the natives warmed 
me a cocoa-nut, and brought it me to drink, thinking it would 
he a substitute for tea ; but the very appearance of it made 
iHie sick. I well remember a native by my side fanning me 
•all night. The next morning the want of food and sleep had 
•so reduced me that I was carried the remaining two miles to 
Faaleifaa on the shoulders of a naked native, whose body 
w^as much lubricated with oil. 

.Arriving at Faaleifaa, we found Mr. Day had landed in 
•comfort last night, and, he having our stores, we soon had 

56 The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 

a good breakfast prepared After rest and sleep, and Tomi-- 
Tomi-anga of the legs and arms by a native — a very pleasant 
operation, akin to " medical rubbing " — ^I was soon restored. 

Mr. Day was kindly received, and had hope of good success 
among the people. Mr. Hardy preached at three or four- 
villages on our return, and also located native teachers. I 
was glad indeed to have seen the commencement of Christian 
work among this people. It gave me an insight into the 
dangers and difficulties which had to be endured. It im- 
pressed me with the necessity of a missionary becoming 
thoroughly acquainted with the language of the people, and 
it led me to feel that the hope of all successful missionary 
labour depended on more faith, and love, and patience than. 
I possessed on leaving England. 

December 31. — ^Tliis last day of an eventful year was one- 
of great sadness. Mr. Bamden, one of the most healthy, 
active members of this Mission, was drowned. I had gone- 
bathing with him and Mr. Hardy ; but, before I was undressed, 
Mr. Barnden had gone out of his depth. Mr. Hardy ran to 
liis assistance, and I for further help, but it was too late. Our 
brother was unexpectedly cut off from his work, and the 
Mission has had to mourn the event. Good old Teava, the- 
Earotongan, was subsequently appointed to supply his place 
at Leone. 

Our missionary ship " Camden " was too small to bring on 
all our goods to Samoa ; it was therefore resolved to charter 
another ship to bring on those goods left at Sydney ; hence 
our delay in Samoa. But that vessel not having arrived, we 
left our Samoan beach house, and gladly went on board our 
own ship — the " Camdenr 

For more than a week we were engaged in mission work 
among the Samoan Islands, locating missionaries, landing; 
supplies, &c., &c., and on the 17th of January, 1839, were glad, 
indeed, and thankful to find that we were sailing direct for 
the Island of Earotonga. 

As I read the incidents of our stay at Samoa, recorded in 
my journal at the time, I am filled with praise for God's- 
goodness and care, and especially for the advance now made 
at that Mission. 




February 4. — It was a lovely South Sea morning. We 
made the westward of the island, and were thus prevented 
landing at Ngatangiia. Eeaching the leeward off Avarua, we 
saw a boat coming toward us. The persons in the boat were 
all neatly clothed, and at first we supposed them to be 
foreigners; but they were native young men, with the ex- 
ception of Eev. A. Buzacott and his son Aaron. It was- 
most cheering to see Mr. Williams and Mr. Buzacott embrace 
each other, after some five years' absence, especially as we 
remembered that Mr. Williams had introduced Christianity 
to the island seventeen or eighteen years before. Those 
young native men were the first-fruits of the Mission. They 
had been brought up in tlie Mission schools, and in them we 
saw the transforming influence of Bible instruction, contrasting 
them so conspicuously with the heathens at Samoa. whom we 
had so recently left. 

The next day we landed at Avarua, and were kindly wel- 
comed by Mr. and Mrs. Buzacott and family, and by the natives.. 
The village was about a mile and a half long, consisting of neat 
hme-plastered, detached cottages, with gardens on each side 
the road, and in the middle of the village was a fine chapel. 
As we entered it we were filled with amazement that such a. 
building should have been raised in these early years of the 
Mission. It had open pews, a gaUery on all sides, and a fine 
pulpit ; all the work of the natives, who, twenty years before, 
were in a heathen state. It was built to seat 1,400 people. 
The mission house was a small, neat, plastered building, having- 
only ground floor arrangement, with no ceilings. As this 
house was too small to accommodate all our party, Mrs. Gill 

58 Selections from 

and I were domiciled in the chiefs house in the settlement. 
It was indeed a South Sea palace, two stories liigh, with ten 
good bedrooms, and a large hall in the centre. 

Makea, the chief, was a noble fellow ; every inch kingly 
in person and in disposition. His redeemed state from 
heatlienism was a grand reward to the missionaries. 

The news of our arrival soon spread to all the stations of 
the island. Multitudes of natives daily came to the mission 
house to see Mr. Williams and the new missionaries, and to 
hear the many wonderful incidents he had to tell them of 
his visit to England — of the printing in England of the first 
-edition of the New Testament in the Earotongan language, 
whicli we had brought with us, and of our new sliip, to be 
devoted to mission work* 

A Messenger from Tinomana. 

One afternoon, as we sat in the midst of some sixty or 
eighty natives, we were surprised by the arrival of a messenger 
from the chief of Arorangi, a village eight miles to the south of 
the island. As he entered, the assembly received him with 
great deference. He had come at great speed, and after a few 
moments' attention to his scanty toilet, and lustily using his 
large fan, addressing Mr. WiUiams, he said, '"Blessings on 
you, Williamu. I have a message from Tinomana." 
Blessings on you," replied Williams; "what may your 
message be ? " He answered, " Tinomana sends his greeting 
to you, and he wishes to know whether you have fulfUled the 
promise you made to him when you left us for England." 
^' Wliat promise ? " asked Williams. " You promised to bring 
out a missionary for Arorangi. Have you done so?" was 
the inquiry. Mr. Williams, pointing to me, said, "Yes. 
I have fulfilled my promise ; this is he." Instantly the man 
arose, and gave utterance to his great joy, and said he could 
not be detained, but must hasten back to Arorangi to tell the 
good news to the people. We were told that he ran the 
whole of the way — ^that some hundreds of the people were 
assembled to watch his first appearance at the top of tlie 
mountain near the station, and to receive the sign of his 


The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 59 

success. Upon seeing the sign they burst into exclamations 
of gladness and praise. Surely here was a literal fulfilment 
of the prophecy, " How beautiful are the feet of him who 
bringeth good tidings," &c. 

I quote from the " Missionary Chronicle " for April, 1840, 
the following notices of the arrival of the vessel in the 
Hervey Group : — 

"The faith and hope of the churches wiU be refreshed 
by instances of the numerous manifestations of Divine 
mercy which the natives in that group continue to experience 
under the glad sound of the Gospel. It is generally known 
that the brethren Pitman and Buzacott, whose labours in 
Earotonga for many years past have borne such abundant 
fruit, have been joined by two of the devoted missionaries, 
Messrs. Gill and Eoyle, sent forth with Mr. Williams in the 
* CamdenJ The post assigned to Mr. Royle is the Island of 
Aitutaki, and Mr. Gill has taken up his station at Arorangi, 
in the principal island, Earotonga." 

Under date of May 11, Mr. Pitman thus writes : — 

" Our spirits were highly exhilarated on the appearance of the strong 
band of missionaries sent out to reinforce our several stations. Welcome, 
thrice welcome, * Chmden,' far more than if thou hadst been filled with 
pearls or diamonds ! Sincerely do I pray that these brethren may all 
prove men of God, counting it their highest honour to live and die in the 
service of their Divine Master. Surely the powers of darkness must now 
tremble and gnash their teeth with rage. No doubt this is the case. 
They have, however, still possession of extensive territories — they are 
powerful, subtle, and malignant. They will not yield at a word, nor 
quit without a struggle their strongholds ; for strong they are ; but 
blessed be our Rock ! they are not impregnable. 

" We have every possible encouragement. The Captain of our Salva- 
tion leads the way. Shall we then shrink back when dangers threaten, 
and fear to follow such a Commander ] Shall we for a moment despair 
of success ? Despair ! for ever let that word be blotted from the 
Christian soldier's vocabulary. Exercising faith in the Divine veracity, 
there is no occasion for distracting doubts and fears as to the result of 
this warfare, for, though I am no prophet, yet of this I am confident, 
that victory is certain, absolutely certain. It must be so as long as it 
stands written in the imperishable records of the King of Zion, * Thus 
fiaith the Lord, The Lord reigneth ; let the earth rejoice ; let the mul- 
titude of isles be glad thereof.' " 

6o Selections from 

Adverting to the missionary ship the brethren, in writing 
to the Directors, remark : — 

" The holy zeal manifested by British Christians, in the purchase of the 
' C^nuien'for missionary purposes, was to us no small source of gratification. 
Glad, indeed, shall we be to hear that the aim of the Society in providing 
this vessel may be more than realized ; and that this may be a great means 
in the hand of God of introducing the Gospel of Christ to every island 
in the Southern Pacific. May ' Holiness to the Lord ' be written on her 
sails as she traverses this extensive ocean." 

Hie brethren conclude with a brief but comprehensive 
view of the general state of the Mission : — 

"We are happy to inform the Directors that the Lord is still 
pleased to smile upon our feeble efforts, and to encourage us in our 
work. Our chapels and schools continue to be well attended, and 
many have been added to the church, whom we hope have tasted 
that the Lord is gracious. For the last few years we have been greatly 
tried in the aflUctions of our poor people, and a great number have been 
called out of time into eternity. It is, however, a pleasing consolation 
to have hopes respecting the salvation of very many. As fer as we have 
been able to ascertain their views, we cannot entertain a doubt, but to 
them death has been eternal gain. This will be as gratifying to you, as 
to us it is cheering and animating." fc y-8 y u. 

First Sunday on Earotonga. 

My first Sunday on the island — spent at Avarua — ^was 
one of great interest to me. Finding that an early morning 
prayer-meeting was held by the natives, I went to the chapel. 
Had I not known a word of the language, the sight of this 
service could not but be understood as indicating great pro- 
gress and hope for the future. About 250 natives were 
present. A middle-aged native presided — ^a man who, twenty 
years before, was a warrior, notorious for his cruelty even in 
the midst of a cruel heathenism. He gave out a translation 
of one of our well-known Sabbath liymns, then he read a 
portion of the Psalms, and called on a native Christian of 
his own age to pray. Two other hymns were sung, and 
two other prayers were offered. Then the presiding native 
gave a short address, and closed the service. Three or four 
such prayer-meetings were conducted every Sabbath morning 
by the natives at the several stations on the island. 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 6i 

Next to the chapel stood the large and well-planned 
school-house. At eight o'clock on Sabbath morning 700 
children were in it, each class of ten or twelve scholars 
having its teacher ; a hymn was sung, prayer was ofifered, a 
«hort passage of Scripture was then repeated by one of the 
boys, and a few words of address given by the missionary, 
after which each class removed to the chapel. 

It was a wonderful and overpowering sight, on tliis my first 
Sabbath on shore, to see this house of prayer filled with more 
than 1,600 native worshippers, with but few exceptions 
clothed in white native cloth; and to remember that only 
ten years before they were wild, naked heathens ; but now 
subdued, and a goodly number of them thirsting for instruc- 
tion which should still further dignify and bless them ! Mr. 
Euzacott preached. After the morning service the Rev. H. 
Eoyle preached in English in Mr. Buzacott*s house. Late 
in the afternoon, we attended another native service in the 
chapel, and, in the evening, held a meeting at Mr. Buzacott's 
liouse for special thanksgiving and prayer. This was a day 
of great pleasure — one of many such which we spent on the 

Only next in interest and importance to the chapel and 
school buildings was the missionaries' house; with it I 
was much pleased. It was a neat, commodious, clean, 
]iome-like abode. The chief's house was a large, well- 
built, convenient dwelling, erected by the assistance of an 
American carpenter. It was well furnished with chairs, 
sofas, tables, and beds, and the floors covered with fine 
mats. As we looked at these things we endeavoured to 
realize- the change which had been effected over this people 
and their habits, by the wonder-working, civilising power of 
the Gospel of Jesus. 

Eemoval to Arorangi. 

We had not been two weeks at Avarua when one morning, 
quite early, more than 200 men came from Arorangi to take 
Mrs. Gill and myself down to our station. I had wished to 
remain with Mr. Buzacott a month or two to make progress 

6i Selections from 

in the language, but the determination of the people could 
not be withstood ; so, by the advice of Mr. Buzacott, we con- 
sented to go at once. Miss Sarah Buzacott — then about nine 
years old — ^went with us, and was of good service for some 
time as interpreter. 

The journey from Avarua to Arorangi was quite a novel 
sight. A chair was fitted up for Mrs. Gill, and carried by 
the natives ; then followed about 200 men, each one carrying 
some article. It must be remembered that at that time it 
was necessary to take out to the islands everything connected 
with housekeeping, together with furniture, clothes, and 
English food, sufficient for one or two years. Hence this 
array of stores, boxes, barrels, furniture, pots, pans, &c., &c. 
I brought up the rear, riding a horse lent for the occasion by 
Mr. Buzacott, the people singing, as we proceeded, songs of 
praise to God for the safe atrival of their missionary. 

Arriving at Arorangi we were domiciled in the native 
teacher's house. Our goods were stored in two rooms, two 
other rooms were fitted up as bedrooms, and a wide space in 
the centre was used as dining-room and sitting-room. 

A large but rudely built chapel stood in the middle of the 
village, and a school-house, almost as large, on the opposite 
side of the road. On Sunday more than 1,400 natives and 
young people were assembled. We were pleased to find two 
full services were conducted in the chapel every Sunday, and 
morning and afternoon schools held with the children. Two 
morning schools were held every day — at six o'clock for 
adults, and at eight o'clock for children. 

It was most pleasing to find a people only twelve years old 
in Christian instruction so far advanced, and so prepared and 
willing to devote themselves to new plans for further im- 

From the first day I mixed with the natives as much as 
possible, learning their language, and in less than three 
months after landing on the island it was my good fortune 
to read my first address to the people in the native tongue. 

"April 28, 1839. — This morning I ventured to read my 
first sermon. Text, the true and faithful saying: 'Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners/ • I had read the 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 65 

MS. to an intelligent native first, and was pleased to find that 
the people understood it pretty well. As I stood up in the 
midst of so large a congregation to speak in their language, 
my feelings were indescribable. Through the mercy of the 
Lord I read the sermon with some degree of composure and 
freedom, and was encouraged to hope that the people had 
understood most of what I said." 

House Building. 

We had not been long at Arorangi when Tinomana, the 
chief, gave us a good-sized piece of land on which to build a 
house. The people soon set to work, burning coral block for 
lime, and cutting wood for the frame of the building. 

Availing myself of the assistance of Mr. Thomson, who was 
with us until ho could proceed to Taliiti, I drew some plans 
for the house. It was raised three feet from the ground, was 
about one hundred feet long, and sixty feet wide ; ground 
floor only; divided into seven or eight rooms, open to the roof. 
It had a verandah, six feet wide, front and back. The whole 
plan was an improvement on anything the natives had seen 
before. As it was being erected they were more and more 
interested in the building. It was my good fortune to take a 
supply of window glass with us — the first the natives had 
ever seen. Wlien the front doors and windows were opened 
the wondering people came in great numbers to see its. 
" kaka " (shining) at sunset. 

The house took nine months to build, and really did great 
credit to the poor people, who had had no previous experi- 
ence of such house building. 

Those first montjis of labour were often very trying 
both to body and mind. Twice or thrice during the house 
building we were both ill. Every morning I went to tha 
adults* and children's schools. Some hours each day were 
spent in attending to the sick of the station, and in preparing 
medicine. Three afternoons a week public services were held 
in the chapel. Adult classes— of church members and in- 
quirers — were met three days a week by Mrs. Gill and 
myself. The work of the house had to be planned, and 

^4 Selections from 

looked after. These labours, under circumstances of do- 
mestic discomfort, with frequent want of proper food, and the 
■exhausting influence of a tropical climate, often induced 
weariness and sometimes illness. Ships were very unfrequent 
<iuring those years. Sometimes six, eight, or twelve months 
would elapse between the visits of ships, especially at 
Arorangi station, where we lived. Besides the mission ship, 
I only saw four English vessels at the island all the years 
we were there. I remember at one time, during those early- 
months, being so weak and undone that, had an opportunity 
presented, we should have felt justified in taking a voyage 
•either to Tahiti (700 miles) or to Sydney (4,000 miles). But 
in our trial we sent a messenger to Avarua, and Mr. Buzacott 
came. He had had some twelve or fifteen yeara' experience, 
and was well able to advise. He kindly suppUed us with 
proper medicine, and insisted that we should cease from aU 
work among the natives for a month, and by God's blessing 
we were restored. 

Attempts to teach English. 

At this period of the Mission it was thought desirable to 
make an attempt to teach the youth of the island to read 
English, so as ultimately to give them the opportunity of 
studying English books. I went into this plan with zeal 
and confidence. A class of the most promising lads was 
selected, and some portion of every day was devoted to their 
instruction. But in less than a year the plan was abandoned 
as impracticable, not, I think, from want of ability in the 
lads, but from want of proper books to learn from, and our 
want of proper time to give to the study. 

I have no doubt that, in the advanced mental improvement 
of the people, and on becoming more accustomed to English- 
men, many of the young men and women will acquire a 
good knowledge of English, but no amount of effort would 
result in its superseding the native language, as was thought 
probable by some of the Directors. One or two native 
girls and boys, taken entirely from their homes to reside 
in the missionary's family, have given good proof of the 

The Rev. W. GtlPs Autobiography. 65 

native ability to acquire an intelligent knowledge of English. 
A large number of young men who have had two or three 
years' service on board whaling and other ships, and others 
who have much to do with foreigners in the markets, find no 
difficulty in speaking or reading English. 

In attempting to advance the young people in general 
knowledge, I felt the want of school material. Elementary 
lessons were given in astronomy and geography, which 
much interested the scholars, and led me to try my skill 
in map and globe making. A calabash eighteen inches in 
diameter was procured, native cloth was pasted over the ends 
to make it in proper shape, and the whole was covered with 
Avriting paper ; on this I marked in ink, with sufficient cor- 
rectness, the continents, islands, and countries of the earth. 
This primitive instrument, varnished and placed on the 
pedestal, mightily astonished, and, in some measure, in- 
structed the people. 

Institution for Native Pastors. 

About this time it was felt that an institution was 
needed where young intelligent Christian natives should 
reside under the care of the missionary, and receive such 
instruction as should prepare them for service as pastors 
over home churches and as evangelists to the heathen. The 
Directors had long been convinced that greater efiforts should 
be made to dififtise the Gospel in the South Sea Islands, and 
other parts of the world, by mjeans of native teachers and 
evangelists; and, acting upon that conviction, they deter- 
mined, previous to the departure of the " Camden^* to attempt 
a seminary at Rarotonga for the theological education of pious 
young natives, with a view to their engaging in the mis- 
sionary work. The feelings with which the brethren Pitman 
and Buzacott received the views of the Board on this subject 
are expressed as follows in a joint letter transmitted by them, 
imder date May 23 : — 

" The wish of the Directors to establish in the islands an institution 
for the education of young men of decided piety, to be engaged as 
teachers or pastors, and to qualify them as thoroughly efficient mission- 


66 Selections from 

aries, we hail with great delight ; and, as the Directors have fixed upon 
Barotonga for the development of the plan, we hope it will meet with th& 
Divine approbation and blessing. May it please God to qualify, by th& 
powerful energies and special grace of the Holy Spirit, many suitable 
individuals for such a great and important work." 

A suitable piece of land at Avaraa was accordingly pur- 
chased of the chief. It was fenced round, and a number of 
detached cottages were built. Twelve or fourteen young men 
were admitted, and the institution has prospered. During^ 
the earlier years the subjects of study were mainly Biblical, 
sermon and essay composition, with portions of Christian 
work at the station. Two or three hours a day were devoted 
to varied works of carpentry, &c. 

The new year, 1840, found both Mrs. GiU and myself 
gaining knowledge of the language, and increasing in 
interest towards the natives. Most deeply were we touched 
by the older people's description of their former life in 

In a letter to the London Missionary Society (January, 
1840), of which the following is a copy, a report was given of 
the first effort of the natives at Arorangi to make contribu- 
tions in aid of the London Missionary Society, and also some: 
account of natives at work. 

'' One subject that occupied much of onr conversation on our voyage- 
was the importance of constantly urging on the attention of the native- 
churches the duty of relieving the parent Society, and of presenting 
them with those high motives by which they should be induced, as- 
Christians, to extend the blessings they themselves have received^ 
Notwithstanding all their disadvantages, the members of the churches^ 
at Barotonga have hitherto shown every disposition to discharge those- 
high obligations under which they feel themselves laid both to the- 
church at home and to the heathen round about us. Last year auxiliary 
missionary societies were first established on the island. One was 
formed in August last at Avaraa, the station of Mr. Buzacott. It was 
truly an interesting scene, and strongly calculated to encourage the hope- 
that, if their spirit of benevolence be matured by Christian principle,, 
their subscriptions will, at some future time, be no inconsiderable item, 
in the financial report of the Society. 

'^ In September last a similar society was formed at fhis settlement, 
Arorangi. On the Sabbath previous to the meeting I took occasion to- 
show the urgent necessities of the heathen, and our duty to render alL 

The ReiK W. GtlVs Autobiography. 67 

the assistance in our power, taking as the foundation of my remarks the 
solicitous ciy of the man of Macedonia for help, recorded in the Acts of 
the Apostles. Early on the day appointed for the formation of the 
society the chapel was crowded to excess. Services were commenced by 
singing a hymn celebrating the power and majesty of Jehovah as tBe only 
trae Grod, after which prayer was offered for the Divine presence and 
blessing. Mr. Buzacott, who kindly attended, gave a brief historical 
account of the parent Society, the first declaration and subsequent 
prosperity of the Gospel at Tahiti, and the present state and extent of 
the Society's operations. To these statements the people listened with 
intense interest, and indicated by the expression of their countenances 
that their hearts were deeply affected. At the close of Mr. Buzacott's 
address, Papeiha, the first native teacher sent to these shores, showed 
that it was their duty to form a branch society to aid the parent Society 
at home ; and, after expressing his hope tluit they would pay proper 
r^ard to that duty, proposed that Tinomana, the Chief of Arorangl, be 
appointed treasurer for the ensuing year. This being seconded by the 
elder deacon of the church, it was imanimously carried. The next pro- 
position was that Setephano, one of the chiefs sons, be appointed secre^ 
taiy, which was likewise carried ; and after the parties proposed had 
expressed their assent, several other speeches were delivered. We sub- 
sequently adjourned to the school-house, the place appointed to receive 
the subscriptions, and invited the several teachers of the adult classes to 
bring the collective contributions of his class. Accordingly, each 
brought his basket of arrow-root, and we found at the close that the 
whole quantity amounted to 700 lbs. Those who contributed in money 
brought dollars, half-dollars, and quarter-dollars to the amount of four- 
teen dollars and a half. Afterwards a large quantity of miscellaneous 
offerings were presented, of little value in themselves, but pleasing to be 
received, as showing the disposition of the people, these being their 
only property. Among them were thirteen fowls, thirteen bundles of 
*piere,' dried fruit, thirty-two small, neatly wrought native baskets, 
forty-two stones, used formerly in the wars, one basket of breast 
ornaments, and other heathen articles, seven baskets of various 
kinds of sea shells, by the poor children, and a great number of heatheu 
ear-drops. These contributions remain in the hands of the treasurer, 
who will dispose of them to the best possible advantage, and forward the 
proceeds to the treasurer of the parent Society. 

'^ The people with gladdened hearts sat down afterwards to a feast 
prepared for the occasion, many sincerely praising the Lord, and all 
counting themselves happy to have lived to see such a day. In the 
afternoon another service was held in the chapel, in order to give many 
an opportimity to express the feelings of their hearts, and to exhort one 
anollier to diligence and love in the work of the Lord. Twelve or 
fifteen speeches were delivered, which exhibited much humble gratitude 
and holy joy on the part of those who, prior to the introduction of the 


^8 Selections from 

Gospel, Bat in darknesa, and revelled in all that can be conceived as 
polluting and debaaing, 

^ There was one old man present who had been a great warrior, and 
who in his heathen state seldom appeared without hvman JUsk hanging 
on hi$ hook; but who now, having obtained redemption by Christ, is 
washed and sanctified, and for many years has united with the Mthfal 
in commemorating the dying love of Christ This poor man, having on 
his person many scars of his ancient sanguinary conflicts, referred our 
minds, in the course of the remarks which he made, to the years of dark- 
jiess which he had witnessed, stating that he had ' lived to behold a new 
and a wonderful thing — ^the gathering together of the people to send the 
Word of the true God to the heathen. It is true,' he said, ^formerly we 
used to assemble, but it was either to plan attacks of murdei^ or to flee 
from attacks made by the enemy ; either to devise schemes of theft and 
pollution, or to carry those schemes into execution. We then met in 
fear, and with hearts filled with envy and malice, and dared not to 
assemble our wives and children ; but now the darkness has fled, and 
the true light of the True Sun has shone upon us — Jesus the Lord &om 
heaven. The spears of our wars are lost, and we hold in our hand the 
eword of the Spirit — the Word of the Lord — ^we bring with us our wives 
and our children, and feel that our hearts are filled with love one towards 
imother. We not only love those of our own settlement, but we love 
all, and are loved by all ; and, above all, this day we have met to show 
our love to those who are as we were, living in darkness, having no God, 
and no hope ; this is a new and a wonderful event, brought about by 
the great love of God.' After many expressions of gratitude to Divine 
Mercy, and exhorting others to cherish the same spirit, he most 
affectionately addressed the young, who listened with much atten- 
tion, and I trust his exhortations will prove a word in season to 

" Another old man, a candidate for church fellowship, said, ^ I have 
lived during the reign of four kings. In the first I was but young ; we 
were continually at war, and a fearful season it was — ^watching and 
hiding with fear were all our engagements. During the reign of the 
second we were overtaken with a severe famine, and all expected to 
perish ; then we ate rats and grass, and this wood and the other wood, 
and many other unmentionable things. During the third we were con- 
quered, and became the prey of the two other settlements of the 
island ; then if a man went to fish he rarely ever returned, or if a 
woman went any distance to fetch food she was rarely ever seen again.^ 
Here, after referring to many deeds of darkness to which he at that 
season had been eye-witness, he continued, ^ But during the reign of this 
third king we were visited by another King — a great King — a good 
King — a powerful King — a King of love — Jesus the Lord from heaven. 
He has gained the victory — He has conquered our hearts ; we are all His 
subjects; therefore we now have peace and plenty in this world, and 

The Rev, W. GiWs Autobiography. 69 

hope soon to dwell with Him in heaven. We have done well to-day to 
meet to make known the fame of tlus King where the prince of darkness 
reigns, by sending them that Word of Life which made Him known to 
us.' Many other speeches were equally pleasing and gratefal, as showing 
the sincere gratitude of the people, and their desire to communicate the 
source of their joy to others. Commending ourselves and our work to 
the blessing of Him who will not despise the day of small things, we 
dispersed with hearts filled with thankfulness and praise." 




While pursuing our daily routine of duty, with but very 
little variety, save our growing interest in the natives and 
our work among them, we were cheered on the 15th of April 
by the arrival of a ship. It was the first to brings us letters 
since we left England. It was a rich treat to have a good 
supply of news from friends, and of books, papers, magazines, 
&c. But our joy was mingled with deep sorrow, for by that 
vessel we heard the report of the murder of our father and 
friend, the Eev. John Williams, and his companion, Mr. 
Harris. We had no letters of detail, but only the report of 
the captain and others. Some days after the arrival of the 
vessel we found more particulars in a Sydney paper. 

In November last, a day or so before his death, he had 
written the following letter to the London Missionary Society, 
which will always be read with interest : — 

« My dear Friend, — 

*' Being on my way to New South Wales, where I expect to be 
fully occupied, I am employing my spare moments on hoard the 
' Camden/ in writing to friends whose many expressions of kindness 
have indehbly fixed them in the most sincere and sacred affections of 
my heart. Indeed, the very act of taking up the pen and commencing 
the letter conveys one in imagination to the place of sacred intercourse, 
brings you into actual converse with the beloved object of your com- 
munication, and calls to remembrance the interesting scenes that live 
only in the grateful recollections of kindred hearts. But I must not 
indulge in imaginative correspondence, or give vent to feelings in the 
expression of which I might speedily fill my sheet I must recollect 
that I am nearly 20,000 miles away from you, engaged in a work which 
is near to your heart, wHch is constantly in your prayers, and to aid 
which your possessions are consecrated. Information, therefore, upon 
the progress of the cause of Christ in these islands, I feel assured, will 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 71 

l>e most acceptable to you ; far more so than a volume of expressions of 
•esteem for your person, or gratitude for your favours. I visited Earor 
tonga, and am happy to infonn you that my truly excellent Mend and 
invaluable brother, Buzacott, entered fully into my views respecting the 
collie. He commenced it immediately with two, and has now eleven, 
students in it A large piece of ground has been purchased of Makea, 
on which to erect the building, and there is every prospect of its sue- 
-ceeding to the extent of our most sanguine expectations. This is a 
darling subject with me, and I trust I shall live to see it in full 
and efficient operation. The ground cost 150 dollars. The truly good 
•chief (who is since dead) would not have parted with it for ten times 
the sum for any other object ; indeed, he would not have parted with it 

'^ I could fill my sheet with relating many delightful circumstances 
about dear Barotonga ; the truly affectionate manner in which the 
people welcomed me again amongst them ; and how they scolded me 
for not bringing John and Mrs. Williams. The eagerness with which 
they received the Testaments would have cheered your heart could you 
have been eye-witness of the scene. The countenance of a successful 
applicant glistened with delight while he held up his treasure to public 
view; others hugged the book, while many kissed it; some sprang away 
like a dart, and did not stop till they entered their own dwellings and 
exhibited their treasure to their wives and children; while others 
Jumped and capered about like persons half frantic with joy. You will 
recollect that none are given away ; those who had money to pay for 
them were the first supplied (the price was Zs,\ and in a few days nearly 
^20 were brought into Mr. B.'s hands. The next were those who had 
dried bananas or nuts to pay for them ; these my dear John was to pur- 
chase at the price of a book, and find a market for them where he could. 
The third class supplied were those on trust ; and when some came 
whose characters were such as to cause some little hesitation, their 
appeals were pointed and affecting. ' Do let me have a Testament ; do 
let me have the good Word of God ; perhaps by reading it my heart 
may be made better.' Others who could not read, and were slack in 
their attendance at school, would plead and promise to do better. * We 
did not know,' said they, 'that our eyes would ever have beheld such a 
«ight as this in Barotonga ; we shall neither eat, drink, nor sleep if 
you do not give us the good Word of God.' These are but faint repre- 
sentations of never-to-be-forgotten scenes which occurred at this delight- 
ful island. 

" At Borabora, too, a box of Bibles was landed by mistake at Mr. 
Bodgerson's house ; the people heard of it, and made applications for 
them. Mr. R replied, that Mr. Nott had given special orders that none 
were to be distributed till he arrived. They immediately exclaimed, 
* How do we know that we may live till then */ we must have the Word 
of God ; ' and much as they fear and respect Mr. B., they would have 

7 2 SehcHons from 

taken off the roof of his House had he not complied with their demands. 
You will be pleased to hear t^ are paying for the Bibles they are thii» 
so anxious to obtain* 

'' The schools at Rarotonga are going on well, the congregations large^ 
and the churches increasing ; the only drawback is the great mortality 
still prevailing at this devoted little island. The deaths at Mr. Pitman's* 
station alone amoimted to 260 in one year, while the births were only 
60 ; and at the other stations a similar decrease had been experienced. 
The good Chief Makea is gone. He was invaluable while he lived ; his 
influence and power, great as they were, were given to God. He died most 
happy. I never knew a chief I loved so much, or thought so highly of.. 
He will be a great loss to the Mission ; but I am happy to inform yom 
his son David is treading in his steps. Thus, my dear Mend, we liv& 
in a dying world ; perhaps this may not reach England before your 
happy spirit will quit its tenement of clay, and unite with that of my 
departed friend Makea in praising and loving that Saviour who re- 
deemed you both by His blood. Ere long some friend will communicate 
to surviving relatives and connections the information of our death ; the 
grand concern should be to live in a constant state of preparation. This I 
find a difficult matter from the demand incessantly made upon my energies- 
both of body and mind ; but I find great comfort from the consideration 
that many, very many of God's people pray for me, and also that aU i» 
spent in the best of all causes. 

'* I did intend to have said more about the Navigators Islands Mission 

than I shall have room for j but as I have written to dear , and 

intend writing to Mr. , I have requested them to make you ac- 

quainted with the contents of my letters ; lack of information upon some- 
points will be obtained there. Your invaluable present of books I have- 
divided equally between the Rarotonga and Samoan Missions. Our 
friends at Rarotonga have not yet received theirs, but to the brethren at. 
the Samoas I have given, I believe, about 180 volumes in your name,, 
and they were to write a letter of acknowledgment to you for them. It 
is our intention to establish there also an institution for the education, 
of pious natives ; which induced me thus to divide your bountiful and 
invaluable contribution of books between the libraries. Oh, what a. 
luxury it is to do good ! wjjat sound philosophy there is in the Bible t 
What a knowledge it displays of sanctified human nature when it asserts^ 
* It is more blessed to give than to receive.' 

" You will, I know, rejoice with me when I inform you that my dear 
John is invaluable in the Mission, as is also his intelligent and excellent 
wife. He has charge, not only of the immediate settlement where he- 
resides, but of ten others, preaching alternately at them, and superin- 
tending the labours of the native missionaries who are stationed there^ 
Thus, while he is supporting himself by his merchandise, he is doing- 
the work of a missionary among a population of six or eight thousand 
people. The great American scientific expedition came to Upolu a week 

The Rev. TV. Gill's Autobiography. 75 

or two ago ; by the express wish of the Commodore, John has accepted 
the office of Consul for the United Stktes of America. By this he will 
be able effectually to stop the vile and wicked seamen from running 
away from the ships, and check the wickedness of those on shore. 

'^ I have just heard dear Captain Morgan say that we are sixty miles 
off the Hebrides, so that we shall be there early to-morrow morning. 
This evening we are to have a special prayer-meeting. Oh! how much 
depends upon the efforts of to-morrow! Will the savages receive us or 
not ? Perhaps at this moment you or some other kind friend may be 
wrestling with God for us. I am all anxiety ; but desire prudence and 
faithfulness in the management of the attempt to impart the Gospel to 
these benighted people, and leave the event with God. I brought twelve 
native missionaries with me ; two have settled at a beautiful island 
called Kotuma ; the ten I have are for New Hebrides and New Caledonia. 
The approaching week is to me the most important of my life. You 
would love our dear good captain if you knew him. He is a holy man of 
God. With sincere esteem, 

" I remain, truly yours, 
*«J. Williams.'' 

The official report had heen sent in a letter by Captain 
Morgan to the London Missionary Society as follows :— 

" Dear Sir, — 

" I have to communicate to you the painful intelHgence of the 
death of your beloved brother and faithful missionary, the Kev. John 
Williams, who was massacred in the Island of Erromanga, one of th& 
New Hebrides, on the 20th of November, 1839, and of Mr. James Harris, 
a gentleman who was on his way to England with the view of becoming 
a missionary to the Marquesas. The event happened the day after we 
left the Island of Tanna. There the natives received us most kindly, 
and Mr. Williams remarked he had never been received more kindly 
by any natives among whom he had been ; his spirits were elated to 
find such a door of entrance opened. In the afternoon we left there 
three teachers and a son of one of them. 

" We proceeded to Erromanga, and hove-to on the south side all night.. 
At daylight we ran down the south side in hope of landing more 
teachers. The island appeared thinly inhabited ; we saw now and then 
a native or two at a distance. On reaching Dillon's Bay, we saw a^ 
canoe paddhng along the shore with three men in her, and by Mr. 
Williams's desire we lowered down the whale-boat, and took in Mr. 
Williams, Mr. Harris, Mr. Cunningham, myself, and four hands ; we 
spoke to the men in the canoe, and found them to be a far different race 
of people from those at Tanna, their complexion darker, and their stature: 
shorter ; they were wild in their appearance, and extremely shy. They 
spoke a different language from that of the Windward Islands, so that 
Mr. Williams could not understand a word they said. He made them. 

74 Selections from 

«ome presents, and tried to persuade thesi to come into our boat He 
did not succeed, so we left them, hoping, as Mr. Williams remarked, 
with favourable impressions towards us. We pulled up the Bay, and 
some of the natives on shore ran along the rocks after the boat. On 
reaching the head of the Bay, we saw several natives standing at a 
distance ; we made signs to them to come towards us, but they made 
fiigns for us to go away. We threw them some beads on shore, which 
they eagerly picked up, and came a little closer, and received from us 
«ome fishhooks and beads, and a small looking-glass. On coming to a 
beautiful valley between the mountains, having a small run of water, 
we wished to ascertain if it was fresh, and we gave the chief a boat- 
bucket to fetch us some, and in about half an hour he returned running 
with the water, which I think gave Mr. Williams and myself more 
-confidence in the natives. They ran and brought us some cocoa-nuts, 
but were still extremely shy. Mr. Williams drank of the water the 
native brought, and I held his hat to screen him from the sun. He 
«eemed pleased with the natives, and attributed their shyness to the ill- 
treatment they must have received from foreigners visiting the island on 
«ome former occasion. Mr. Cunningham asked him if he thought of 
going on shore. I think he said he should not have the slightest fear, 
And then remarked to me, * Captain, you know we like to take posses- 
43ion of the land, and if we can only leave good impressions on the minds 
of the natives, we can come again and leave teachers ; we must be con- 
tent to do a little ; you know Babel was not built in a day.' He did 
not intend to leave a teacher this time. Mr. Harris asked him if he 
might go on shore, or if he had any objection. He said, ' No, not any.' 
Mr. Harris then waded on shore ; as soon as he landed the natives ran 
from him, but Mr. Williams told him to sit down ; he did so and the 
natives came close to him, and brought him some cocoa-nuts and opened 
them for him to drink. 

" Mr. Williams remarked, he saw a number of native boys playing, 
and thought it a good sign, as implying that the natives had no bad 
intentions ; I said I thought so too, but I would rather see some women 
Also ; because when the natives resolve onmischief they send the women 
out of the way ; there were no women on the beach. At last he got up, 
w^ent forward in the boat, and landed. He presented his hand to the 
natives, which they were unwilling to take ; he then called to me to 
band some cloth out of the boat, and he sat down and divided it among 
them, endeavouring to win their confidence. All three walked up the 
beach, Mr. Harris first^ Mr. Williams, and Mr. .Cunningham followed. 
After they had walked about a hundred yards, they turned to the right 
alongside of the bush, and I lost sight of them. Mr. Harris was the 
farthest off. I then went on shore, supposing we had found favour in 
the eyes of the people. I stopped to see the boat safely anchored, and 
then walked up the beach towards the spot where the others had pro- 
ceeded ; but before I had gone a hundred yards, the boat's crew called 

The Rev, W, Gill's Autobiography. 75 

to me to run to the boat I looked round and saw Mr. Williams and 
Mr. Cunningham running; Mr. Cunningham towards the boat, and 
Mr. WiUiams straight for the sea, with one native close behind him. I 
got into the boat, and by this time two natives were close behind m^, 
though I did not see them at the moment. By this time Mr. Williams 
had got to the water, but the beach being stony and steep,' he fell back- 
ward, and a native struck him with a club, and often repeated the blow ; 
a short time after another native came up and struck him, and very soon 
another came up, and pierced several arrows into his body. 

'' My heart was deeply wounded. As soon as I got into the boat, I 
headed the boat towards Mr. Williams, in hopes of rendering some 
assistance, but the natives shot an arrow at us, which went under the 
arm of one of our seamen, through the lining of the boat into a timber, 
and there stuck fast. They also hove stones at the same time. The 
boat's crew called out to me to lay the boat off ; I did so, and we got 
clear of the arrows. I thought I might be able to get the body, for it 
lay on the beach a long time. At last I pulled alongside the brig, and 
made aU sail, perceiving with the glass that the natives had left the body 
on the beach. I also ordered a gun to be fired loaded with powder only, 
thinking to frighten the natives, so that I might get the body ; the 
natives however made their appearance, and dragged the body out of 

" Yours, &c., 

" Robert C. Morgan." 

At every station the excitement was very great at the 
leport of Mr. Williams's death. 

Both by the natives and ourselves, the information was 

received with deepest sorrow. Never shall I forget the 

sentiments of grief expressed by the poor people ; especially 

among the aged, who well remember Mr. Williams's first 

visit to these shores, and his first address to them on the 

love of God, and always speak of him as the " Oromedua 


One evening on my return from Avarua, the Chief, 

Tinomana, hastened to our house, thinking I might have 

heard some further information. He wept much, and 

said that for the past two nights neither himself nor 

family had slept; thoughts about "Williamu" had filled 

their minds. On the Friday afternoon following, at the 

public meeting of the people, many most interesting and 

deeply sympathetic speeches were delivered. One poor 

7 6 Selections from 

old man^ with streaming eyes, earnestly called upon the 
people to indulge in deepest grief ; " 'Twas right," he said, 
" that they should mourn, and refuse to be comforted. A 
great servant of God had fallen by the hands of the heathen. 
We were not to grieve on his account, his spirit was in glory ; 
we were to mourn for the poor widow and her dear family ; 
and especially for the inhabitants of Erromanga. The poor 
ignorant heathen, let us mourn for them, and pray for 
them, and do all we can to send them others by whom they 
shall be brought to the knowledge of God ; then with bleeding 
hearts they would confess their sin, and seek the Saviour." 

During this address the whole congregation was deeply 
affected. Another rose, an ancient warrior, and commenced 
his address by saying, "Formerly we only knew one kind 
of warfare, now we know another. The former was the 
warfare of the servants of the devil with each other, and the 
devil was their master ; the latter was the warfare of the 
servants of Christ against idolatry and sin, and Jesus was. 
their Master. In the former warfare, the warriors would 
leave their wives and cliildren, and go forward against the 
enemy, and frequently fell ; but their fall was their shame, and 
provided not one consoling thought for the widow and the 
fatherless. How different " he continued, " was the fall of 
Williamu ; he was a warrior, a great warrior ; a warrior of 
Jesus, the Prmce of Peace. He left all to engage in this 
warfare, and he has fallen, but his fall is glorious ; his spirit 
is now in glory, and the land on which he died is sacred* 
We know God will comfort his mourning widow and family. 
Let us give ourselves to prayer ! Oh, my friends, don't let us 
cease to pray ! " 

Another dwelt largely on the deliverance of Peter from 
prison while the church was praying, and insisted there- 
from that our duty was to be very instant in prayer. 
The last speaker referred to the spread of the knowledge of 
Christ and His Word by the death of Stephen and the per- 
secution which afterwards arose; and concluded that God 
would doubtless bring good out of this evil, and that, by the 
love and power of Jehovah, the blood of Williamu would 
become the seed of the Church. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 

• i 

These speeches were deeply interesting, inasmuch as they 
expressed the heart-felt affection and gratitude of the people 
to him who introduced to them the Gospel ; and especially 
as they exhibited their pity and love towards those by whom 
his murder had been perpetrated. A few years ago upon 
hearing such a report, revenge would have been the first 
emotion of the mind ; now they pity the ignorance of the 
murderers, and pray that soon they may become acquainted 
with Him whose blood cleanseth from all sin. 

The people evinced their ardent attachment to the 
memory of their father in Christ. At a public meeting 
held a few days after the intelligence of liis martyrdom 
reached the island, I suggested the erection of a monumental 
record to their departed friend. Pleased with the thought, 
the natives unanimously resolved on carrying it into execu- 
tion ; and in June, 1840, a monument, which stands in front 
of the Mission chapel at Arorangi, was finished. It bears the 
following inscription: — 

" To the Mehiory of the Rev. John Williams, of the London Missionary 
Society, who, having laboured upwards of fourteen years at Eaiatea^ 
was made the honoured instrument of introducing Christianity to the 
Hervey and Samoan Islands. In attempting to convey the Gospel to 
the New Hebrides, he fell a sacrifice, with his friend Mr. Harris, 
on the Island of Erromanga, to the cruelty of the deluded heathen 
inhabitants, Nov. 20th, 1839." 

We were gratified to witness in the people such a 
desire to commemorate the character and services of our dear 
brother Williams, whose heart was full of affection towards 
them ; Invt there exist still more enduring monuments of his 
loibours. Through the power of the Gospel brought by his 
instrumentality to this land, a nation has been raised from 
the grossest idolatry to the worship and service of the true 
God ; and not a few, we hope, who first received from his 
lips the glad tidings of salvation, are now with him in glory. 




On the return of the mission ship to Sydney, some natives 
were taken up, and among them Teava, the first Christian 
native teacher Mr. Williams took from Earotonga on the 
occasion of his introducing the Gospel at Samoa. 


At a public meeting in Sydney, Teava gave the following 
speech. He thanked God that the true religion had been 
taken to Earotonga. " It is thanks to you also," he said, 
" because you sent the true Word to our dark land. The sun 
has now risen upon us. First of all Mr. Williams and Mr. 
Bourne came to us, when a few received the message. Mr. 
Bourne came afterwards and baptized 200 persons. Then 
Mr. Williams came again and lived some time with us, and 
built a vessel. Afterwards Mr. Williams went to Samoa, and 
took seven teachers; they were placed with Malietoa at Savaii. 
On Mr. Williams's second visit to Samoa, I went as a 
teacher. I was placed with Matetaru at Manono. First, a 
few became Christians ; now they have all turned. Great is 
our gratitude to you; you have the management of the 
message, and you have sent it to us. They tell me that your 
country is only in its infancy, but that you are Britons ; in 
thanking you, therefore, I wish to return thanks to Britain." 
He then referred in affecting terms to the death of Mr. 
Williams — " Great was our grief when we knew he was 
dead, because it was he that first made the Word to grow 
in our land. This is my message to you, that you have com- 
passion, and send more teachers to Samoa to assist Mr. Heath 
and Mr. Hardie, and the other message-bearers there, and 

The Rev. TV. GtH's Autobiography. 79. 

that you send them to all the lands. You know it is written 
in Isaiah, that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the^ 
earth, and that then they shall no more hurt nor destroy. 
We have found this. We called at Tanna, at Niu6, and at 
Erromanga, and they did not hurt us. You know also it is. 
written : ' The harvest is great, but the labourers are few. 
Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth 
more labourers into His harvest.' This is a good word, it is^ 
my word to you, ' pray ye the Lord of the harvest, to send 
forth more labourers : ' that is the end of my speech." 

The Chairman then put the following questions to tlie 
natives, which were answered, the first four by Leiatana, the^ 
fifth by Fauvasa, and the last by Teava. The natives did 
not previously know of the questions. — '' Q. Why are you a 
Christian ? A. Because I wish to arrive safely and peace- 
fully in heaven. — Q. What reason have you to believe 
that Christianity is true, and your former religion is false ? 
A. I know that from the Word of God. — Q. What kind of 
persons ought Christians to be ? A. They must do the will 
of God, and depend upon the blood of Christ. — Q. If per- 
sons call themselves Christians, and have not this character, 
^what do you think of them ? A. They are all bad men, and 
the anger of God is toward them. — Q. Who is Jesus Christ ? 
What did He do for the world ? A. He is the Son of God. 
He came down below here to do the will of His Father, and 
to die for us. — Q. What is necessary in order to constitute 
a man a true Christian? A. His heart must be changed, 
and his conduct must be changed." 

Among the first converts whom I knew, there were many 
on Earotonga who were pre-eminently good and great. One, 


was an example of many such. 

Mr. Pitman wrote a very interesting account of his character 
-which I desire to transcribe : — 

^ In the afflictions of our poor people we have been mncli afflicted ; 
hundreds of them have ^een called from time into eternity. The satis- 
factory evidence, however, given by many, very many, of those taken 

^o * Selections from 

iromus, that ' death ' to them was 'gain/ is a great alleviation to the 
grief occasioned by their removal. Death has cut down, with an un- 
sparing hand, high and low, young and old ; and we are left to mourn 
over the devastating effects of this awful visitation. The wise, the good, 
the useful, the careless professor, and the openly profane, have alike fallen 
by the devouring sword of this messenger of death. Amongst the 
number is one of Rarotonga's best men — a most valuable assistant of 
the Mission in this place, ever since its formation. To me the loss is 
great, indeed, but I desire to bow, with devout submission, to the 
righteous decision of Him who cannot err. 

^ A short account of this good man's religious character, his life, and 
death will not, I presume, be uninteresting to the Directors, His name 
was Tupe. He was one of the chief supporters of idolatry in the reign 
•of superstition. But he attached himself to us on our first arrival in 
this place, in 1827. Ignorant was I then how Providence had gone 
before in preparing such a valuable assistant in my future labours. In 
the erection of our first chapel, he was one of the most laborious in the 
work. Not soon will it be erased from my memory, the joy that beamed 
in his countenance when it was told him that I intended to remain in 
this district as their teacher, and that brother Williams would reside in 
the other division of the island till a ship arrived •to convey him to 
Baiatea. The very first night of our settlement amongst them, he came 
to our house to make inquiries respecting the truths of the Bible ; and, 
tiU prevented by disease, scarcely a night passed that he was not present 
at our friendly meetings for conversation, chiefly on religious subjects. 
Often, till near midnight, have I sat conversing with him on the ' great 
salvation.' Nothing, I believe, occupied so much of his attention as the 
concerns of the soul ; nor anything more desired by him than the wide 
diffusion of Divine truth. Indeed, I may say he was wholly devoted to 
the temporal and spiritual welfare of his countrymen. Incessant in 
labour, and indefatigable in his efforts to forward the cause of Gkxi, he 
assisted me in every good work with unwearied diligence, till death. 

" He was a man of considerable influence, and, on the establishment 
of laws, was appointed chief magistrate for this part of the island, which 
office for twelve years he faithfully discharged. Well do I remember, 
at a time when we were involved in much perplexity, owing to disputes 
about land, and all parties were preparing for war, he proposed to go in 
person to the opposite party and attempt to adjust the points of difference 
amicably ; in doing which he had to pass through a district infested 
by some desperate young fellows. I stated to him the danger of the 
attempt, and said that it might probably cost him his life. ' Does the 
Word of God,' said he, 'justify my proceedings ] ' I could not but reply 
in the affirmative. * Then I go, regardless as to the consequences. God 
can and will protect me.' He, without a weapon of defence in his hand, 
passed through the district of these desperadoes, amidst the scoffings and 
jevilings of alL The subject of contention was calmly debated ; he re- 

The Rev. W, Gill's AtUobiography. 8i 

tamed home, and in a few days, all was quietly settled, and war pre- 

" The unflinching conduct of this good man in passing judgment, his 
impartiality in the administration of justice between man and man, and 
his unwavering determination to unite with us in seeking the advance- 
jnent of ' undefiled religion,' roused some of his inveterate enemies to 
plot the most cruel revenge ; even the destruction of himself and family. 
This they attempted by clandestinely setting fire to his house, when he 
And his family were asleep. But He who neither * slumbers nor sleeps,' 
mercifully preserved the life of His faithful servant, and of his family. 
They only escaped, however, with what they had on ; everything else was 
•consumed. On discovering the fire, the first thing he endeavoured to 
secure was, what he considered his greatest treasure, a portion of the 
rsacred Scriptures, viz., the Acts of the Apostles, in the Tahitian dialect ; 
but this he could not effect, and, in attempting it, lost his all. llie 
•consequences of this fire did not end here ; it communicated to the 
house of his son adjoining, which was speedily destroyed ; then to our 
large chapel, which also was soon level with the ground. Large flakes 
of fire passed by and over our own dwelling ; but through the timely 
^exertions of the natives we were mercifully preserved from danger. 
-Soon as I saw him, I said, * Alas! Tupe.' * teacher,' he replied, * the 
book of God is consumed! My house, my property, never regard, but my 
"book, my book! and, oh, the house of God; will not God punish us for 
<thi8 % ' The next morning I had the gratifying pleasure of presenting 
liim with another copy of the book which he so much prized ; it was 
a:eceived with feelings of no small delight. What added poignancy to 
the distress of this good man was to hear many of those who passed by 
Lis house when in flames calling out, Eitoa kia ka, * It serves him right, 
let it bum.' 

" The very first thing which occupied the attention of our valued 
iriend the following day was to see his brother, the chief, and call a 
meeting of the under chiefs that immediate measures be taken for the 
je-building of the house of God. * See,' said he to them, * the house of 
God in ruins! What shall we do j ' * Build it again,' was the unanimous 
jreply. Koia 'ia, e tSmd, mea meitak% * Yes, friends, that's very good,' he 
-said, with joy beaming in his countenance. 'When shall we begin ? ' 
lie asked. ' To-morrow,' was the universal reply. He then said to me, 
** Teacher, be not cast down at what has happened. Let them bum — 
we will build. Let them bum it again, we will build ; we will tire 
them out : but, teacher, do not leave us in this wicked land.' The very 
next morning, at sunrise, Tupe, with the old warrior Tuaivi, and Pa, 
our principal chief, were the first seen passing our dwelling, with their 
.axes on their shoulders, going to the mountains to cut down timber for 
the erection of another chapel ; the whole body of chiefs and people in 
their train. 

" In calling to mind these bygone days, there is a certain something 


82 Selections from 

which fills the mind with pleasure of no ordinary kind, and leads tlie 
observer of Divine Providence to admire the rich, free, and sovereign 
grace of God in thus raising up instruments from the rough quany of 
nature to carry on His great and eternal purposes of mercy in man'& 

'* In Alay, 1833, he was unanimously chosen to fill the office of deacon. 
How faithfully he dischoiged its important duties we are all witnesses. 
Decided piety, deep humility, and holy zeal for the advancement oF 
' pure religion ' were the striking characteristics of our valued Mend. 
This, I believe, no one who knew him would call in question. His 
knowledge of Divine truth was by no means inconsiderable ; and he was- 
eminently qualified for the responsible situations in which Divine Pro- 
vidence had placed him, though he rated very low his own abilities^ and 
almost to the day of his death deeply lamented his ignorance. He 
often testified, with expressions of the greatest astonishment, to the 
condescension of God in visiting such a sinful land as this. Conversing^ 
with him, as I frequently did, on subjects illustrative of the mercy and 
compassion of God, he would sit at times for hours in deep thought, and 
was heard muttering to himself, * Oh, the love of God! the amazing pity 
of the Saviour 1 the depth of the sacred Scriptures! the hardness of the 
human heart! the exceeding sinfulness of sin! ' The Sabbath he rever- 
enced. The Word of God, the house of God, and the people of God, he 
loved ; thereby evidencing that he was a genuine disciple of the Lord 
Jesus. Unless sickness prevented, or engaged in his official capacity, he 
was never known to be absent from the house of God at any of itfr 
appointed services, either on the Lord's-day, or the weekly evening 
lecture ; nor from our church«>meetings for prayer. 

" It would not be easy to enumerate the various ways in which our 
departed friend rendered assistance to me, and to the mission, in the 
discharge of important duties. Every day in the week he was engaged 
in some religious exercise ; and in the examination of candidates for 
Divine ordbiances he spent no small portion of his time. For this 
department of labour he was eminently qualified. He connived at the- 
sins of none. This trait in his character early began to display itself. 
Several years ago, even before he gave evidence of decided piety in him- 
selfi our house every night was crowded with people who came to make 
inquiries respecting the discourses delivered from the pulpit, &c. Ob- 
serving some more particular in their questions, constant in the attend- 
ance at the house of God, and very active in everything proposed for the 
good of the community, I, one night as we were sitting alone, made 
inquiry into their characters, and said, ' I hope by their attaching them- 
selves to us, and their ready acquiescence in putting down existing evils 
in the land, that they are desirous of becoming disciples of Jesus.' He 
made no reply ; after a few minutes' silence, he said, * Teacher, be not in 
haste ; do not think so well of us, be not deceived, we area wicked, de- 
ceitful people ; stop till you have been longer with us, and know more of 

The Rev, W, Gill's Autobiography. 83 

our character, and way of living/ A few weeks having elapsed, again I 
mentioned the subject, * Ah ! ' said he, ' teacher, you don't know us yet 
You think because we come to the house of God, and the schools, and do 
what you tell us, that we are good people, and love God. It is not so ; 
we are deceiving you ; there is a great deal of private wickedness com- 
mitted that you know nothing o£ Ere long you will know.' His words 
were verified, and many of those, whom I had fondly thought had begun 
to seek the Lord, were clinging to their heathen practices. This discovery 
led me into a more particular investigation of the private character of 
those who united themselves to us, and I found that our dear friend had 
not in the least exaggerated in what he had told me. In inquiring of 
him, from that time, either privately or publicly, the character of those 
making a precession of religion, I uniformly found him the same, and do 
not recollect an instance in which he connived at the sins of any. His 
word was to be relied upon. Among a people just emergii^ from heathen 
superstition and idolatry, such a man is to be ranked amongst a mis- 
sionary's greatest blessings. 

" But the time came when our friend must die. About three years 
ago his health began to decline, and he was much afficted with a disease 
which ate into the soles of his feet, and destroyed the tops of his fingers. 
He was, however, able to attend to his varied duties, though afl^cted 
with much pain, till within a few weeks of his decease. At length his seat 
in the house of God was empty, and he was confined to his dwelling. 
Frequent were my visits to him, and the following notes from my journal 
will teU the state of his mind, when * flesh and heart began to fail.' 

"Sept. 16. — Spent an hour with deacon Tupe, a tried and valued 
friend. His days on earth are fast closing ; he is very weak. * It 
something strange,' I said, ' to observe your seat empty in the house of 
God.' ' Ah! ' he replied, * it is the will of God it should be so. Here I 
sit and hear the people sing in the chapel, and, oh ! I wish to be there. 
I give myseK to prayer. God is with me. He will not forsake me.' I 
quoted several passages of sacred Scripture for his comfort, and mentioned 
the texts and outlines of discourses on the Sabbath. With these he was 
acquainted, his wife and children having given him particulars. He 
referred to the great advantages afforded to this people, and asked 
whether it was not for their sins God was pleased thus to chastise,^*by 
cutting off so many by death. He then spoke of the faithfulness of God 
in the fulfilment of His promises to His people. * Not one good thing,' 
said he, ' has failed of all that God has spoken. He promised to Israel 
victory over their enemies, possession of Canaan, &c., all of which He 
fulfilled.' After a pause, with much emotion and feeling, he asked, 
'Where, oh, where is Pitimani vaine, what detains her?' He thought 
he should be called away ere her return. 

" Sept. 19. — On my way home called to see my faithful friend Tupe. 
The change is great ; not long and he will be seen no more below. He 
is, I believe, fixed upon the Bock of Ages. His views are clear and 


84 Selections from 

SeriptoraL We conversed together on our labours &om the beginning, 
and I said it gave me great pleasure that he had through grace been 
enabled to hold out to the end. ' Yes,' said he, ' we have hitherto been 
permitted to work for God. His goodness has been great ; His compas- 
sion boundless.' I referred to his sickness, and the constant prayers I 
presented to God on his behalf, and how much I had been cast down at 
the prospect of our separation ; but had been enabled within the last 
lew days to resign In'm into the hands of God, to do as seemeth Him 
good. ' That,' said he, ' is well ; do so. Grieve not. Detain me not. 
My end is near: ' and he quoted several passages of Scripture. ' Two 
portions of the Word of God,' he said, ' afford me much delight ; that in 
Isaiah, '^ Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty; they shall 
behold the land that is very far off ; " and the words of Paul, '^ Having 
a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is fekr better." I have 
no dread of death. Christ is my refuge.' I said, ' You have greatly 
assisted me in the work of God, from my coming to Rarotonga, and now 
we shall be separated.' 'Ah!' he replied, 'salvation is all of grace, 
through the blood of Jesus. Our work has not been in vain. Here I 
sit, and think, oh! the teacher, the teacher, who will assist him 1 then I 
think God is with him.' Looking up, he exclaimed, * Oh! Pitimani 
vaine, Pitimani vaine, I shall not see her face again.' He wept, and I 
wept ; who could help it ? I broke silence, and said, ' In our Father's 
house we shall meet again.' * Yes,' was his reply, with an effort which 
almost deprived him of his voice, * we shall meet in glory.' * No more,' 
said I, ' to part' ' No,' he replied faintly, * to be for ever with Christ. 
I long to go to be with Him.' I requested an interest in his prayers, 
for myself, my partner, the church, and the island. * I have done,' he 
said, * with the world. What remains is to set all in order, and think 
of the cause of Christ' I left him with feelings not easily to be ex- 
pressed, and talked awhile with his daughter in an adjoining room. My 
soul is cast down, yet rejoicing in the consideration of God's wonderful 
love in thus employing me as an instrument of good to immortal souls. 
All glory to God and the Lamb! 

" Sept. 24. — ^As I was preparing to go to the out-station, a son of Tupe 
came to say that his father was much worse and wished to see me. I 
immediately went, and perceived the messenger of death was come to 
call him hence. He could not see me, but was perfectly sensible. With 
great effort, and at intervals, he answered a few questions. 

" * How is it with the soul ] ' * All well.' * Do you find your Saviour 
your support in death V * He is.' * Is the path- way clear V * No ob- 
struction, the way is clear.' * Have you any fear \ ' * None. Christ is 
mine.' * Your last discourse to the people,' I observed, * was on the death 
of Stephen, who saw the glory of Jesus ; are you also looking to Him 
now in your departure V * I desire to see Him, and to be with Him.' 
I said, 'Death is come, you will soon leave us, we shallbe left in the wilder- 
ness.' * Yes,' he replied, * I go, you remain. I am going to God. I have done 

The Rev, W, GilVs Autobiography, 85 

with the world, we have been long companions,now we part, it is painful — 
but let the Lord's will be done — ^yes, the Lord's will be done.' I referred 
to his family, most of whom were present, and said it was pleasing to see 
some of them uniting with the people of God. *• Yes,' he said, with effort, 
and the others will come.' * What,' I asked, ' do you desire for your 
children ? ' He answered, * The Word of God, the blood of Jesus.' He 
was thirsty, and asked for drink. ^ That,' I said, ' is water for our bodily 
sustenance.' * Yes,' he replied, * I shall soon drink of the water of life.* 
I then read part of the fourteenth chapter of John and expounded it, 
asking him a few questions, as I proceeded, respecting the mansions 
provided for the righteous. He said, ' Ere long I shall be taken to mine, 
and "shall see the King in His beauty." ' After commending his soul 
to God in prayer, I asked him if he heard and understood. ' Quite so.' 
* Now, Tupe,' said I, * in our separation, what shall I say to the church ] ' 
As soon as he heard mention of the church, he exerted himself to the 
utmost, and said, ' Tell the church to hold fast, and be diligent for God. 
Tell Kaitara [his brother deacon] to be strong in the Lord, and active in 
His cause ; also to Tupai.' Then to me he said, with his dying breath, 
AvM Tcoe e taitaidf * Be not cast down.' 

" I had not long arrived home ere his son came to say that his happy 
spirit had fled, to be with Him whom he loved. Thus lived, and thua 
died, a man of God, the first deacon of the church in Ngatangiia, 
and the first member of that church at its formation. Few such men are 
to be found. * Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright ; for the end 
of that man is peace.' " 

The Closing Weeks of 1840. 

At the close of this my second year at Earotonga, I began 
to be much aflfected by the return of the hot season. Mrs. 
Gill was also often very prostrate, especially when north winds 
prevailed. I was so weak, that had a ship called we should 
have sought a change by going to Sydney. "We sent to 
Mr. Buzacott, who kindly came, and advised a complete 
giving up of all work with the natives during the month of 
November. He promised to send his horse that I might take 
daily exercise, and he also sent me a supply of medicine. 

The first morning I attempted the ride two natives were 
obhged to accompany me, one to lead the horse and the 
other to keep me from falling off. However, as the days passed 
on, this release from all work among the natives, and daily 
exercise, restored me to health, and at the end of three 
or four weeks I was again able to resume my labours. 

86 Selections from 

A few extracts from notes at the time will give some idea 
of daily work during the last weeks of 1840 : — 

December 1. — ^Went to the village of Titikaveka. New 
chapel in progress. Met the church. Held a business meeting. 

December 2. — After school, met an aged female member 
who for some time has been doing good work in the village ; 
also met another who wished to join the church. 

December 3. — At schools^ Translating school books. 
Afternoon, had long talk with Papeiha's wife on native 
affairs and work, A truly good woman, and helper of Mrs. 
Gill's ' work. Evening, writing class and long talk with 
Ngatikero, formerly a heathen priest, now a good servant of 
Christ. Formerly never without human flesh on his hook 
outside his hut, now how changed ! 

December 4. — ^At adult and children schools. Afternoon, 
Bible class. Evening, translating books and writing papers. 

December 6, Sunday. — The school and chapel services ; 
also the communion of church members. Evening, house- 
hold Bible-class and prayer-meeting. 

December 7. — Met class of inquirers. Evening, met a 
general class for conversation on the subjects of yesterday's 

December 14. — ^Was engaged with the students of Institu- 

December 15. — Eeturned to Arorangi. Preached at 4 
Had singing class at 7 p.m. ; then met a young chief who 
was candidate for communion. 

December 20. — Our house somewhat injured by a heavy gale. 

December 21.— Went to Avarua to superintend printing 
an elementary book on geography. 

December 24. — Had pleasure in printing the first sheet. 
Evening, returned to Arorangi. Met the chief and people 
about police matters. 

In this way it was our happiness to close this second year 
of our work. 

At the settlement of Arorangi, we had about 1,400 people. 
During 1840, 144 deaths, 60 baptisms, adults and children of 
the families, 25 marriages ; 38 members y^iw^ ihe church, and 
2 were suspended. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 87 

Early in 1841 a fine stone chapel at Titikaveka was 
finished. I have preserved the following report of the 
opening services drawn up by the Eevj C. Pitman : — 

" The erection of edifices for the worship of God is always, 
to the Christian, a source of unfeigned pleasure. Another 
temple has been dedicated to the service of Jehovah in Earo- 
tonga. The 11th of last June was the day appointed for 
opening the new stone chapel at Titikaveka. At an early 
hour the church members belonging to the different settle* 
ments assembled. On entering the chapel I was surprised to 
-see every seat occupied. As two or three hours would 
elapse before the arrival of Mr. Buzacott, I requested the 
people to walk about the settlement till it was time for 
Divine service, but they preferred sitting where they were. 
I had the pleasure of dedicating the building to God by 
prayer and reading the Scriptures. An excellent discourse 
was then delivered by my respected colleague, the Eev. A. 
Buzacott, of Avarua, from 1 Pet. ii. 5 : 'Ye also, as lively 
atones, are built up a spiritual house.' The hymns were read 
by Taunga, late superintendent of the school in that place, 
"but now a student in the Institution for preparing young men 
for missionary labour. May the glory of God be here con- 
stantly manifested, and immortal souls renewed and saved for 
generations to come 1 

" The Gospel was introduced into these districts in the year 
1832. Pity for the wretched state of the inhabitants prompted 
me to the use of means for their deliverance from spiritual 
'death ; for at that time they were living ' without God, and 
without hope in the world,' abandoned to every species oi' 
vice, and many of them notorious for their violent opposition 
to the Gospel. At first they suspected some political design, 
but when at a public meeting the native teacher and myself 
stated the object we had in view, to instruct them in the 
Word of God, they gave us a cordial welcome, and not long 
.after a great change was perceptible. 

" Such has been the origin of the little interest at Titikaveka, 
:and such the result, little anticipated by me, of my first visit. 
' The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.' 
"To Him alone be glory for ever ! In this place the Gospel 

88 Selections from 

has been constantly preached ; and, I hope, much good done. 
The enemy of souls did not tamely give up his possession — 
his stronghold of many generations. Various have been hi* 
attempts to regain the ascendancy ; but ' He who sits in the 
heavens has laughed ' at him, and frustrated all his deep-laicE 
schemes. Hitherto the Gospel has triumphed ; yea, and will 
triumph ! 

" The village in which it stands is situated on the soutb 
side of the island. Behind the chapel is a range of woody 
mountains, over which, on the left, ascends the peak of 
Teatukura — ^the highest point in the island. On the right- 
stand two large Barringtonia trees of many ages' growths 
The chapel itself is built of coral-sandstone, which is found 
on the shores in beds from one to two feet thick ; in some 
parts it is extremely hard and compact, being composed of 
shells and sand closely cemented together. The building i» 
()1 feet square inside ; the walls are 25 feet high and three? 
feet tliick ; there are 17 windows and three doors, all arched 
with the same stone. To guard against storms, it is covered 
with three roofs, supported on four iron-wood columns. 

" To be spared to see the completion of such a fine an J 
substantial building for the worship of God is to me a cause-- 
of thankfulness and joy, and earnestly do 1 pray that, in it^ 
hundreds of immortal souls may be born again of the Spirit,, 
and those who have through grace believed, be built up in. 
tlieir most holy faith." 

Notice of School Work, 1841. 

At this period our daily labours were devoted largely to the 
schools; the good fruit of which abides in the present adult 

Our schools are well attended, and, I am happy to state,, 
afford many blossoms of hope. Some of the children 
were some time since tempted to join in a heathen dance 
got up by the " Tuteauri," but the majority are constant in 
their attendance, and make good progress. Several among; 
the teachers have given pleasing evidence of a renewed 
heart ; and others, both teachers and elder scholars, are among^ 

The Rev. W, GilVs Autobiography, 89 

the inquirers. I could mention the cases of several, but at 
the present time will refer only to one, — that of a young 
man about 18 years old. I do so the more willingly because 
it has some reference to the labours of our departed brother 
Williams. It appears as the fruit of a word spoken in season 
by our brother, the result of which yet remains to be dis* 
closed to him in eternity. 

My first conversation with the lad was as follows : — 

" I have," he said, " long wished to converse with you." 

" On what subject," I inquired, " do you wish to converse ? "" 

" On the subject of baptism." 

" Tell me first what you think of baptism." 
• " I think it to be a sign by which to show that our hearts- 
are entirely defiled by sin, and that except we are renewed 
by the Holy Spirit we cannot be saved." 

" Are all men fit subjects for baptism ? " 

" No ; none but those who hate sin and who have run to* 
Jesus and desire to become entirely His disciples." 

I observed that what he had said was in accordance with 
the Word of God, and inquired whether he had been 
baptized. To which he replied, — 

" No, I have not. When my father was baptized he took 
me with him to Williamu, who put me back, stating I was. 
too old and too wicked to receive the ordinance until I sought 
it myself. Some time after I was taken to Mr. Buzacott,, 
who also refused me." 

"Do you remember being taken by your father to 
WilKamu ? " 

"Yes, quite weU." 

" Were you a steady, thoughtful lad then ? " 

" No, far from it. I was a very wicked boy. I would not 
live at home ; I joined, as often as I could, a set of wild lads,, 
with whom I used to steal and commit aU kinds of sin." 

" That was indeed an awful condition," I observed. " Was. 
it really your character at that time ? " 

" I have not told you all," he replied ; " I cajmot. I was. 
indeed a very wicked boy." 

"But," I continued, "I am surprised at what you say,, 
because since my residence here I have known you as a 

•go Selections from 

steady lad in the schooL What first wrought a change in 
your conduct?" 

"While I was so wicked I frequently had thoughts of 
fear in my heart, but they were not lasting, until one day 
just before Williamu was going to England he came here to 
preach, and afterwards to address the children; being his 
last address I was induced to go and hear him. He told us 
it was an evil and bitter tiling to sin against God, and 
exhorted ua to go to Jesus for pardon and salvation. He 
told us we ought to go at once and not delay." 

" Well, how did this address affect you ? " 

" It caused fear to grow in my heart, because I then saw 
my sin, and it also excited my desire to speak to Williamu." 

" Well, did you speak to him ? " 

''Yes," replied the young man, " I, with another, went and 
begged a little book that I might learn, for I did not then 
know how to read." 

" How did you succeed ? " 

" I asked for a book, and Williamu looked at me and said, 
"* Are you come for a book ? Why, I know you to be a very 
wicked boy, and, besides, you cannot read ; how is it that you 
4ire come to beg a book ? ' I then told him all he had said was 
true. I was a very wicked boy, but from what I had heard 
that morning I was full of fear because of my great sins, and 
now desired to learn, and would try to cast off my former 

" Well," I inquired, " what did WUliamu say then ? " 

" He exhorted me to learn to read, and read the good Word 
•of God, and to pray for a new heart." 

" But," I continued, " this is a long time since — ^upwards 
•of six years ago. Have you attended to Williamu's advice 
and been a praying lad ever since ? " 

" From that time I have been a steady lad, I have obeyed 
my father, I have attended the schools and the house of 
prayer. I used sometimes to pray, but my heart was the 
«ame as formerly. I did not hate all evil. I did not desire 
Jesus with all my heart." 

"But do you think that your heart is interested about 
these matters now ?" 

The Rev, W. GilVs Autobiography. 91 

" Oh, yes ! " he replied, " I feel very different tnswfo from 
now to what I did formerly ; my heart is become soft and my 
•eyes are opened." 

" Has this been a sudden change ? " I inquired. 

" No, it has grown very softly." 

" But are you sure this change has taken place ? What 
•are the signs ? " 

" I think my heart is changed. This I know, sin is become 
:a very wicked thing to me ; I rejoice in private prayer to 
<jrod ; my heart is made light, and I desire to be found in 
•Jesus, that He should be my Lord and Master, and I become 
His servant." 

After some other conversation the young man left with a 
promise that I would meet him again in some few weeks' 
"time. Doubtless the word spoken by our departed brother 
Tvas a word in season to his soul. Oh ! to be wise to win 
•souls — ^to sow beside all waters. The word cannot be lost ; 
we have the Divine promise that in due time we shall 
reap if we faint not. May God ever help us that our faith 
fail not ; that we may continue steadfast in season and out 
of season, beneath the blaze of prosperity or the chilling 
influence of adversity, and, after having done all with 
patience, wait for the glorious revelation of the Last Day. 

I cannot refrain from adverting to the joy which was mani- 
fested by our destitute orphan children when they received 
the garments sent from England last year. Long before the 
•day of distribution arrived many of the children wrote short 
letters on their slates, begging that they might not be for- 
gotten. The number of orphans is so great that the new 
garments given them made quite a difference in the appear- 
ance of the children on the Sabbath. One would almost 
think them little English children. Since they have received 
the garments many letters of thanks have been written to 
us. Thinking it would be pleasing to our friends to see the 
expressions of their gratitude, T transcribe the following three 
letters as specimens : — 

(Translated from Hie native langiLoge,) 

Brethren and Sisters in England, — Great is the joy of our hearts 

^the destitute, and the fatherless — ^because of your compassion to us. 

92' The Rev. JV. Gill's Autobiography. 

This is from one portion of the children of Rarotonga, at the settlement 

of ArorangL This is that by which we know your great compassion 

to us ; — you formerly prayed to God for us, and your prayers were 

prosperous ; — God heard them, and His good Word grew quickly here in 

Rarotonga. Now you have given cloth to the fatherless and great is our 

joy, because our appearance in the house of prayer was formerly ver\' 

dirty, but now we shall think continually of God's love, and we will also 

pray to Him for you, that His great love may grow abundantly with you 

in your land. This is the end of our word now. 

Napa, a teacher. 

Papaa, a scholar, 

Brethren, — ^Because of your great love to us our hearts greatly 
rejoice. This is our word to you. We are a company of destitute 
children, — ^we have no property to compensate your kindness to us. 
May you be rewarded by God ! That is our prayer. The clothes you. 
have given us, poor orphan children of Rarotonga, have reached us. 
Our parents are dead, and you have become our parents, because you 
have given us many good things with joy and compassion. This is our 
word, — we will pray for you, and you must pray for us. Now, children 
of England, and brethren, and fathers, let us love one another as Christ 
also has loved us ; let us also love the heathen lands that yet remaiiL 
who know not God ; and let us make known His great love to the world 
in giving His only-begotten Son that we may be saved. He is the light 
and the life of men ; there is no other good. May we all be found in 
Him at the last day. All the teachers ; all the chiefs ; all Britain ; and 
all Rarotonga ; and a great number from heathen lands. This is the 
conclusion of our word. 

^^^' ] Two boys. 

TORIA, f ^ 


Friends and Brethren in England, — ^We formerly heard of God's 
loving-kindness to you, but now we truly know that you have been 
compassionated by Jehovah, because you have had compassion for us, and 
sent us the good Word, and slates, and pencils, and teachers, and now 
you have sent us a great quantity of beautiful cloth, that we may be 
clothed on the Sabbath. We formerly resembled the worms without 
cloth. Our mothers are dead — we now dwell parentless — God only is 
our Parent. We have not been able to attend the house of prayer ; the 
want of cloth has been the reason. Our native cloth soon rots, — ^it is- 
only the skin of a tree and will not keep good long ; therefore we are 
greatly rejoiced by this English cloth you have sent us that we may be 
covered. We have no property in our land. We will pray to God for 
you. May you be saved by the Messiah. This is all our word. 

MiRI, > " 




On the 9th of June, 1841, we left our station at Arorangi, 
amidst the tears and prayers of an aflfectionate people, and 
embarked next day for Mangaia, accompanied by the native 
assistant, Maretu ; Eupe, from the seminary, and his wife ; 
Medua-aru-toa, a native deacon, from the church at Mangaia ; 
and Setephano, the young chief of Arorangi. We had hoped 
to reach Mangaia within two days after our embarkation, but 
-our God, by whose hands the wind and the ocean are con- 
trolled, had otherwise appointed : contrary winds sprang up 
by which we were kept at sea nine days. 

Mangaia lies about 120 miles south-east of Earotonga, 
and is from twenty rsix to thirty miles in circumference. From 
the extremities, north-east to west, is a bold shore of per- 
pendicular, barren coral rock, twenty to sixty feet high, 
thickly indented by deep, huge caverns of most grotesque 
appearance, into which the sea beats with awful grandeur in the 
jseason of its rage. The other side of the island is preserved 
from the inroads of the mighty billows by a coral reef, about 
half a mile from the shore, which contains no opening large 
enough to admit a boat. 

The roughness of the weather prevented our landing on the 
day we made the island ; several of our companions, how- 
ever, ventured on shore, and communicated the intelligence 
of our arrival In the course of the afternoon Numangatini 
(the chief of the island) and a few native Christians came in 
their canoes to welcome us. 

Early the next morning a canoe came alongside, and 
having descended into it, in less than a quarter of an hour 

94 Selections from 

we were landed on the reef. The majority of the church 
members were then waiting to receive us ; and, as the canoe 
touched the edge of the reef, several rushed forward and 
dragged it in haste to the land, and, with acclamations of joy,, 
bore us, canoe and all, to a house prepared to receive us. 
The scene was most overpowering. The crowds of people — 
old and young — ^the unintelligible shouts of some, and the 
mute amazement of others, exceeded anything I ever saw 
or heard. 

After recovering in some degree from the excitement of the 
morning, our friends from the vessel took leave of us, to pro- 
ceed on their way to Tahiti, whence they hope to return in 
three months. 

June 20. — ^At Oneroa, the chief settlement, situated on the 
north-west side of the island, there are not less than 2,000 
inhabitants. At six in the morning, the natives held their 
early prayer-meeting, and from 700 to 800 persons attended. 
At nine the children were assembled in the school-house, or 
rather shed, as it has neither sides nor seats, being merely a 
roof supported by a number of low posts. More than 1,000 
children were present, sitting in rows on the ground so close 
together that it was with difficulty I made my way to a rudely 
constructed pulpit erected in the centre. Every eye was- 
fixed on me while I gave them a short address, and stated 
that the object of our visit was, among other things, to devote 
as much time as possible to the schools. Every countenance 
beamed with an expression of joy, too forcible to be misunder- 
stood by the heart of a missionary, when they were informed 
that I had brought a sufficient supply of school-books for all 
the children on the island, and that at an early period we would 
meet them, and arrange them into classes. 

After singing and prayer, the children walked in order to the 
chapel, where the adults had been some time assembled. The 
chapel is 130 feet long by 36 feet wide, the wonder and admira- 
tion of aU who visit the island. The numberless rafters of the 
roof, each neatly covered with native paint, are supported by- 
twelve or fourteen pillars of the finest wood, carved in the most 
ingenious manner. How affecting the scene from the pulpit \ 
To see this large and skilfully constructed native building, not 

The Rev. W, GtlVs Autobiography, 95 

only full, but overflowing, crowded on all sides by attentive- 
listeners to the words of life, who, but a few years ago, walked 
mth the children of darkness, devoted,like their fathers, to idol- 
atry and sin. While my spirit rejoiced at the scene before me„ 
my heart sunk at the awful responsibility of my situation. The^ 
subject of our meditation was 1 Cor. ii. 2 — a crucified Saviour 
the glorious theme of the Gospel ministry. In the afternoon 
the children again assembled to be questioned on the morn- 
ing sermon. Another public service in the chapel closed the 
labours of the day. 

June 25. — ^This morning left Oneroa, with a party of natives, 
to visit Tamarua, a station about seven miles distant. Our 
path lay over barren hills, and through fertile vales, bounded 
on every side with perpendicular piles of coral rock, from 50 
to 100 feet high. As the day advanced we entered a lovely 
valley of taro and cocoa-nut trees, when we espied in the 
distance a newly finished house of prayer ; as we approached, 
the natives in great numbers ran to meet us, and with smiles- 
and hearty congratulations welcomed us to the place. On 
reaching the settlement we were led to a native house, which 
had been neatly prepared for our reception ; clean grass had 
been strewed on the ground, and a bed of rude construction 
had been put up, hoping that we should remain a few days^ 
Upon learning that this was only a hasty visit, and that we- 
intended returning in the evening, one person pleasantly pro- 
posed that they should fetch the '' Bape of the Judges" and 
make fast our feet ; but, upon being informed of our intention 
to visit them two or three weeks hence, and make a longer 
stay, they were pacified, and consented to let us go. 

In the course of the forenoon, I proposed to meet the mem- 
bers of the church who reside at this station, for the purpose- 
of settling them here. Hitherto they have been in the habit 
of assembling with their brethren at Oneroa ; but it has long 
been their desire to have a native missionary settled over 
them, and to observe the ordinances at their own place. On 
entering the chapel, which is very large, and most pleasantly 
situated on a rising eminence in the valley, the emotions of 
our hearts were inexpressible. Truly the isles wait for Thee, 
O Lord 1 We thought of the prophecy : " He shall prolong 

<)6 Selections from 

his days^ he shall see his seed, and the pleasure of the Lord 
shall prosper in his hands." 

The members of the church, about seventy in number, were 
waiting to receive us. Among them were some aged fathers, 
from the dark caves and dens of this once heathen land, and 
from the yet darker regions of sin and depravity, the reign of 
which is now trampled beneath the feet of Him, whose is the 
Kingdom and the Power and the Glory. Others were just 
in the prime of life, whose countenances expressed the grati- 
tude of their hearts that they had been delivered from the 
thraldom of him who held their fathers in bondage. Some 
were yet young ; and their softened manners, earnest atten- 
tion, and glistening eyes, whose light was half lost in the rising 
tear indicative of the affection of their hearts, filled the soul 
with adoration to that Saviour whose love and grace is all 
triumphant; and excited the pleasing hope that the good 
work would continue to advance. 

After singing, prayer, and an address, I questioned them as 
to their desire to be separated from the church at Oneroa, and 
settled at their own station ; and finding them unanimous, 
it was arranged that henceforth they should observe the ordi- 
nances of the Christian Church among themselves : four of the 
most active, pious, and intelligent men were then selected to 
^act as deacons. After distributing a few hymn-books, we 
commended this infant church to the gracious presence and 
blessing of the Saviour, and dispersed. 

A fuller account of this visit is recorded in '* Gems from 
the Coral Islands." 

After more than three months' residence at Mangaia, we re- 
turned to Rarotonga, and our people received us with gladness. 

We received from Mangaia arrowroot contributions which 
realised £50 for the Bible Society and £16 for the London 
Missionary Society. 

The natives of Earotonga contributed, also, £50, making a 
total of £116 — no mean sum, raised principally by hard 
labour on the part of our ^poor people, as a token of their 
latitude to the Bible and the Missionary Societies. 

The Rev, IV. Gill's Autobiography. 97 

The following letter, iu the form of a journal, written by 
Mrs. Gill to her parents, gives a graphic history of our visit 
to Mangaia :^ 

"June 9th. — ^This morning we left Arorangi amidst the 
tears and prayers of our people. They feel our leaving 
much. It was quite affecting to hear and see them ; soma 
said, ' We shall look at your house, but our " Oromedua " i» 
not there, and we shall feel lonely ; ' others said, * We shall 
be like children whose parents are dead ; ' others said, * We 
will not cease to pray that God may preserve you and watch 
over you while you are absent from us, and bring you back 

" Jime 11th. — Sailing with a strong, but contrary, wind. 

" June 16 th. — ^The strong wind and currents have carried 
US on to the edge of the tropics, consequently we are, with 
light winds and calms, almost as far from Mangaia as the 
day we left Earotonga. It is most wearisome both to our- 
selves and the many natives who are with us. 

" June 17th. — ^Early this morning we arrived in sight of 
Mangaia; but owing to the strong wind, together with a 
heavy surf rolling in, it is questionable whether we shall be 
able to effect a landing to-day. 

" This island has on one side a bold shore, and on the other 
a coral reef, so that it would be dangerous to land in boats ; 
we shall therefore be obliged to send everything on shore in 
canoes^ Evening — Many canoes have been to our vessel to- 
day, and most of the natives who came with us are gone 
ashore. The chief, Numangatini, has been on board. He 
came, according to the native custom, with the intention of 
waiting until we could accompany him ; but, feeling a dispo-- 
sition to sickness, he was obliged, somewhat speedily, to take 
his departure. 

^' June 18th. — This morning, almost as soon as it was light,, 
our ship was surrounded by canoes ; our attention was directed 
to one as having been sent by the church expressly ta 
take us on shore* The sea being less troubled than yester- 
day, we were handed down the side of the vessel, and soon 
found ourselves seated in the canoe ankle-deep in water. In 

this we were paddled about two miles. As we approached 


^8 Selections from 

the shore we saw a great number of natives standing on the 
reef; these, we were told, were members of the church 
waiting to receive us ; and as soon as our canoe rose with 
the wave to the reef we were instantly lifted over, before 
another rolling surf had time to break. The canoe was then 
dragged a long distance inside the reef, until we arrived at 
the head of the settlement ; here we expressed a wish to get 
out and walk the remaining distance ; but our request was 
positively refused, and the people insisted upon our sitting 
still. A signal was then given, when instantly we, with the 
canoe, were hoisted on the sable shoulders of forty or fifty 
individuals, and carried through the settlement ; to attempt 
a description of the scene is utterly impossible. When we 
reached the teacher's house, we found it literally crowded 
with natives, who, as soon as our canoe was put down, 
hastened to offer us their congratulations. 

"Sunday, 20th June. — ^At 9 A.M. the children were 
assembled in a kind of shed, their school-house having been 
blown down in the late gale. I should think at least 1,000 

were present. W gave a short address ; after singing (if 

singing it may be called) and prayer, they were dismissed to 
the chapel, which, however, was so filled with adults that 
not half the children could enter. The chapel is very long, 
and narrow, about 126 feet by 36 feet; the sides are very 
low, but the roof is lofty ; the centre is supported by eighteen 
large pillars, and other smaller ones, ingeniously carved, 
which look exceedingly beautiful, and show great industry on 
the part of the natives. The people listened attentively to 
the sermon from 1 Cor. ii. 2. After service the children 
flocked around us in such numbers that it was with difl&culty 
we could proceed home. I appeared to be the principal 
source of attraction — they would run a little before me, and 
then walk backwards ; others got upon large stones ; some, 
more bold than the rest, came quite close in order to look at 

" Monday, 21st June.— To-day the men and women of the 
classes have, according to their custom, brought us a present of 
native cloth, food, &c., &c., and the usual ceremony of shaking 
hands was gone through, a most formidable affair where 


The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 99 

there are 400 or 500 individuals^ though much to be pre- 
ferred to rubbing noses! It was amusing to hear the old 
native teacher telling the people to be very gentle in taking 
the foreigner's hand, and to be sure to give us the one they 
had washed (?). One individual spoke for all ; he said the pre- 
sents we saw were brought as a proof of their love, and also 
of their joy that we had come to teach them the "Word of 

"Tuesday, 22nd June. — This morning several members 
of the church came to see us. Evening — ^Attended the 
•church-meeting. Upwards of 500 members were present. 
We are surprised to find so many ; but we understand that 
they are consistent and diligent disciples. 

"Wednesday, 23rd June. — Engaged this morning with 
several female members, endeavouring to instruct them in 
liousehold matters. I find, alas ! that here, as well as at 
Earotonga, these duties are little understood and very in- 
efficiently performed. We feel very solicitous about the 
native children and young people ; they have been too much 

neglected. W had a meeting with their parents, and 

urged upon them the necessity of erecting a new school- 
house, if possible, during our stay ; to this they cheerfully 

"Friday, 25th June. — ^Visited Tamarua, a small village 
three miles distant ; a chair was fitted up for my accommo- 
dation, in which I was carried. The roads here are bad, 
owing to the ' makatea ' (or coral rock) of which the island 
is formed ; tliis, jutting above the surface of the soU, renders 
walking exceedingly painful. Our path lay across sterile 
mountains and fruitful valleys ; the mountains yield little 
beside a wild fern, but the valleys grow cocoa-nuts, bananas, 
mountain plantains, and taro. Soon after our arrival at 

the settlement, "Vy met the members of the church, when, 

in compliance with their wishes, they were separated from the 
church at Oneroa. It was also arranged that Kupe, from 
the Native Institution, Earotonga, should be appointed their 
teacher. At this village we were much . pleased with the 
neat chapel ; it reminded me of some country place of wor- 
ship in England. I could scarcely feel convinced that we 



1 oo Selections from 

were indeed in a land where, but a few years ago, the inhabit- 
ants were all heathen. Truly God hath blessed these poor 
people, and the ends of the world have seeu ffis salvation. 
In the afternoon we had the children collected under a shed, 

and W gave them an address, and distributed books. 

About two hundred were present, but only one girl and six: 
boys could read. When the children were dispersed, the adult 
classes met in the chapel to hold their usual Friday evenings 
services, after which we took our departure, with hearts filled 
with gratitude for what we had been permitted to see of 
Gospel work among these interesting people. 

" Monday, 28th June. — ^Early this morning we left Oneroa 
for the village of Ivirua, on the eastern side of the island, 
about eight miles distant. We arrived here about 11 A.M., 
and, according to native custom, found food prepared for us, 
and laid on the floor. A piece of native cloth was spread for 
us to sit on. ' About 1 o'clock the members of the church were 
assembled, when, like those of Tamarua, they expressed a wish 
to be settled at their own viQage. Taking into consideration 
their number, the long distance from Oneroa, and the bad 
roads, it was thought well to comply with their desire. The 
church was then formed, and three deacons were chosen to* 
conduct its services until a teacher could be appointed. 
This evening the house was crowded with natives who came 
to gaze and talk. 

"Tuesday, 29th June. — ^This morning we attended the 
schools, and separated the children into eighteen classes. To 
each child was given a book, and to many of the teachers 
slates and pencils ; but we had only twenty-four slates to 
distribute, so that many were left without. At 10 o'clock 
we met for public service in the chapel, after which we 
returned to Oneroa. 

"Wednesday, 30th June. — The people have commenced 
the new school-house to-day, 92 feet by 45 feet. This after- 
noon I met a class of women, and arranged to meet a class 
every day for instruction, and also to teach them cutting and 
making garments. 

"July 2nd. — Morning — ^Met all the female teachers in 
class for instruction, and distributed to them books on 

The Rev. Wi Gill's Autobiography, loi 

geography and arithmetic. I engaged to instruct aome of 
them four days a week, in order that they may be better able 
to teach their classes. 

" Monday, 5th July. — ^Morning — ^Met the teachers in class, 
and afterwards cut out a dress for a native woman. After- 
noon — Conversing with two church members. Evening — ^At 
missionary prayer-meeting ; the chapel well filled. 

" Wednesday, 7th July. — ^A small vessel hove in sight this 
morning. The captain came on shore. He is hom. Huahine, 
and has brought letters and a few Tahitian books. This 
afternoon, met a class of women; and evening, attended 

" Thursday, 8th July. — ^Morning — ^Met the female teachers 
for writing and arithmetic. They have not the least idea of 
writing figures, so that I fear they will not make much 
progress during our stay. Afterwards I was engaged in 
<;utting out a pair of trousers for Maretu's son. 

" Friday, 9th July. — This morning W attended to the 

men on one side of the chapel and I to the women on the other. 
After reading and writing they were questioned on Scripture, 
geography, and the multiplication table. Afternoon — ^Met a 
•class of adult women ; and conversed freely on their respon- 
sibilities as parents. Some said they had indeed been guilty 
in reference to their children, and had neglected their instruc- 
tion ; but they pleaded want of time and ability. 

" Saturday, 10th July. — ^This afternoon we left Oneroa for 
Tamarua. We have heavy rains, which make our reed house 
•damp and uncomfortable. The people were quite pleased 
when we told them of our intention to stay a few days 
amongst them. 

"Tuesday, 13th July. — ^Attended the school. There were 
seventeen classes of boys and twelve classes of girls ; several 
of the former could read, but only one of the latter. To four 
<ilasses of boys and one class of girls we gave copies of the Acts 
of the Apostles; and among the remainder we distributed 
elementary reading books. In consequence of the inade- 
<iuate supply of books the children have been taught by 
-rote ; hence their ignorance. I went into aU the girls' 
•classes, and found the teachers (without exception) reading. 

1 02 Selections from 

and the children repeating, at the same time not knowing a 
letter. I gave them our method ; but it was so foreign that 
I fear it will be some time before they adopt it. 

" Wednesday, 14th July. — ^Arrangements were made last 
evening for the purpose of setting apart Bupe as native 
pastor over the people at Tamarua and Ivirua. The deacons 
and other members of the church at Oneroa, together with 
those of Ivirua, arrived at an early hour this morning — 
about eight o'clock we assembled. The service was com- 
menced by singing and prayer ; W gave an address ex- 
planatory of the object, and Bupe answered several questions,, 
simply, but satisfactorily. Another prayer was then offered, andl 

W preached from 1 Cor. ix. 22 : 'I became all things to all 

men ; if by any means I might save some.' The ordinance of 
the Lord's Supper was then administered to about one hundred 
and forty communicants. The services being concluded, the 
people sat about in groups round the chapel, and partook of 
a feast prepared for the occasion. This evening we left 
for Oneroa ; the new school there being in a state of forward- 
ness, and the people not knowing how to proceed, W 

was needed to superintend the work. 

" Thursday, 15th July. — Morning-— Engaged with class of 
teachers. Afternoon — I had a class of adult women; tha 
teachers are very anxious to learn writing and arithmetic, 
but we had no slates. Fourteen young persons joined the- 
inquirers' class. 

" Friday, 23rd July. — ^The last few days have been exceed- 
ingly wet and gloomy. We have kept aU the wooden 
windows and doors shut, and had a lamp burning all day ;. 
we have also been obliged to wear our cloaks. We feel 
the damp much in the native house. 

" Tuesday, 27th July. — ^This evening, at the church-meetings 
Setephano, with Atuia, natives of Earotonga, and Tauiri, 
of Mangaia, were received into church fellowship. We wera 
much pleased with the account Tauiri gave of himself. He 
said : — ' Brethren, by the love of God we are met together in 
this place. You know me, and are well acquainted with my 
former character ; it was evil, very evil. I lived in sin on 
shore, and when on beard ship I did the same there. I went 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography, 103 

to Tahiti, and to other lands ; I was the same there. I lived 
some two or three months at the station of Avarua, and then 
went to Arorangi, the same wicked man. My first Sabbath 
at Arorangi I entered the house of prayer where the message 
of God was delivered, " Behold the days approach that thou 
must die ; " then I first felt the solemnities of death, death of 
the body and of the souL I was afraid, and began to pray 
to GoA I joined the classes for instruction, and attended 
constantly the house of prayer; but I was not a truly 
changed man then. On one Saturday morning in the year 
that is now lost to us, a ship hove in sight off the island. At 
the proposition of Setephano, the chief, I made one of the 
party to go to it. In haste we left the shore, taking with us 
a little fresh water and one bunch of bananas, with a few 
cocoa-nuts. Before we could reach the vessel God sent a 
strong wind, by which the ship was soon blown out of sight ; 
and we, tossed upon the waves of the great sea, tried to 
make the land, but aU efforts were vain. Before night the 
land was quite lost to us. On the Sabbath the storm con- 
tinued, and our fears began to grow ; thus we continued, day 
and night, without seeing land, until the following Sabbath. 
One or two of our company had become quite helpless ; and 
we all expected to be buried in the sea. We thought of our 
sins, and confessed to each other our guilt ; and we made a 
covenant with the Lord that, if He would in love save us, we 
would be His. We had no hope, however, for it appeared to 
us that death was near. But Jehovah had compassion ; and 
when we were helpless He Himself brought us in sight of 
Earotonga, and gently brought us to the shore. From that 
day to this I cannot forget my covenant ; and my hope is, 
ihoLt season of death has proved the means of my life. I am 
a great sinner ; but the sinlessness of Jesus is all-sufficient 
for me. This is all my hope and prayer — ^to be saved by Him 
who died for me.* 

" August 2nd. — ^This afternoon, W proposed that thp 

church here invite the church members of Tamarua and 
Ivirua to the opening of the new schopl-house on Wednesday 
next. This proposition was agreed to, and two deacons were 
appointed to take the letter of invitation. 

1 04 SeiecHons from 

*' August 4th. — ^Early this morning the people were busily 
employed in bringing food for the feast at the opening 
of the new school-house. At 9 o'clock the children were 
assembled; not less than 1,200 were present. The place 
was quite full, so that only a few of the adults could 
find standing room. The children listened with the deepest 
attention while addressed from 1 Elings iii 5-9. At 11 A.M. 
we took our seats at the feast. It was a new scene to them. 
Kever before had parents and children united in a feast of 
this kind. At 2 o'clock both parents and children again 
met in the chapel, the school-house not being large enough. 
After singing and prayer, from twelve to fourteen short 
speeches were delivered by deacons and others. An old man, 
once a heathen warrior, but now a true Christian, said: 
* This is a new day, the like of which we or our fathers 
have never seen, a day of great love ; yes, Grod has loved 
us, and we love one another. Formerly, during Satan's 
reign, we prepared food, and were weary with carrying it to 
our idols, where we left it to rot, without advantage to our- 
selves or others ; but to-day our own mouths have eaten 
what our hands have prepared. Formerly, the children were 
kept at home to take care of our lands, and the women ate 
food after the men were satisfied; but to-day we have all 
met, not afraid to leave our lands, nor ashamed to look at 
our wives; and now, you, our children, look at this new 
school-house, bmlt on purpose for you. Let us, adults, hold 
fast that which is good; do not let the children have any 
excuse on our account And you, children, see that you 
regard well your instruction.' 

"Friday, 20th. — Little of importance has transpired during 
the past fortnight. I have attended daily to the teachers and 
adult women. This evening we gave a dinner to the chiefs, 
six in number, seroeA up in English style. All, of course, were 
expected to use knives and forks, and some were rather 
awkward; but, considering this was the first attempt, we 
thought they succeeded pretty well. 

" Saturday, 21st. — ^This evening finds us at Ivirua, whither 
we have come to spend the Sabbath. "We are now sitting in 
a native reed house ; the floor is strewed with clean dry 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography, 105 

grass ; in one comer stands a rude bedstead, covered with 
native cloth, and in another a cooking apparatus ; on the 
opposite side, partitioned off with native cloth, is a place for 
the servants, while in the other comer are three fowls. 
The wind is whistling through the reeds in all directions ; 
happHy, there axe no windows. 

" Monday, 23rd. — ^This morning we attended the children's 
school, and were glad to find them in tolerably good order. I 
distributed a few bags among the teachers, with which they 
were much pleased. At noon attended a meeting of the 

" Tuesday, 24th. — ^Much gratified with the progress of the 
children during the past six weeks. Conversed with several 
candidates for church fellowsliip. At noon attended service, 
and in the afternoon we returned to Oneroa. 

" September 3rd. — ^Early this morning the people from the 
two inland stations, with those of this settlement, assembled 
to celebrate the third anniversary of their auxiliary to the 
London Missionary Society. The meeting was commenced 
by singing and prayer. Numangatini, the chief, was then 
re-appointed to the office of treasurer, and Taki to that of 
secretary. Many of the natives then addressed the meeting, 
after which the following articles were contributed : — ^Arrow- 
root, native cloth, thirty-five fathoms of fishing nets, also 
twenty-eight ' kumities,' or bowls, two carved axes, twenty- 
four cocoa-nut cups, and 8s. 6d. in money, the value of these 
articles amounting to about £17. 

" Thursday, 9th. — Early this morning we left Oneroa to visit 
a heathen settlement. We were received kindly ; had a long 
conversation with the heathen. They listened attentively to 
all that was advanced. One old man said he would, not 
go to the Christian settlement, — ^his mind was made up to 
continue where he was imtil he died ; but his two wives and 
a large family attend the schools. After resting a little time 
we went with a company of natives to see a large cavern — I 
should think more than a mile long; the people of this 
district were accustomed, in time of war, to take refuge in 
this place. The sgar in some places was very large, and 
presented the appearance of massive stone piUars ; in other 

1 o6 Selections from 

parts it formed a rich drapery ; in others it was like a bed of 
snow, and in others like beautiful icicles. When we had 
gone about half-way through, the smoke from our torches 
became so unpleasant that we were obliged reluctantly to 
retrace our steps ; we, however, succeeded in breaking off a 
few stalactites to send home to our friends. As we returned 
we again called at the heathen settlement, and it was pro- 
posed to engage in prayer with them, to which they made no 

" Friday, 10th. — Morning and afternoon engaged with the 
school-teachers' wives, showing them how to make bonnets. 

" Monday, 13th. — ^To-day the people wentto plant arrowroot 
for the Missionary Society. About a fortnight ago I came ta 
the end of the adult classes, twenty-two in number, and in 
all nearly 400 women. I now meet only one class a week, 

" Saturday, 25th. — ^Early this morning we heard the ciy, 
* A ship ! a ship 1' About noon the ship came oflf our station. 
At two o'clock Mr. John Williams came on shore, and ex- 
pressed a wish to get oflf in the evening ; he said certain in- 
dications around the sun portended a storm, which he wished,, 
if possible, to avoid. We immediately commenced packing,, 
and at sunset were on board. Our departure was so sudden 
that scarcely any of the people knew, for they were at their 
plantations. We have with us three natives for the Institution, 
and three who are to live with us at Arorangi. We leave 
these people with deep regret, but duty is plain. We bless 
God if He has permitted us to do anything for their advan- 
tage and improvement, and desire more than ever to devote 
ourselves to His service. 

" Monday, 27th. — ^Yesterday we were near Earotonga, but 
the weather, being hazy, prevented us seeing the land. Near 
midnight we encountered the anticipated gale ; it continued 
several hours ; the thunder and lightning were terrific ; but, 
strange to say, I scarcely heard it ; the fatigue on Saturday, 
together with sea-sickness, laid me quite prostrate. This, 
morning the wind was high and the sea rough ; we, however, 
were anxious to get on shore. Mr. John WiUiams and our- 
selves got into a little boat, and landed in safety at Nga- 
tangiia, Mr. Pitman was waiting on the beach to receive us* 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography, 107 

A messenger was despatched directly to Avarua, and sooo' 
Mr. Buzacott arrived to welcome us. 

" Tuesday, 28th. — ^This evening finds us at Arorangi, sur- 
rounded by our good people here, who are overjoyed at our 
return. I cannot describe our feelings on finding ourselves 
again in our own house at home. As we review the past few 
months, the dangers to which we have been exposed and the 
varied scenes through which we have passed, we axe con- 
strained to acknowledge that goodness and mercy have^ 

followed us. To our heavenly Father be grateful praise." 

« • « « * 

The remaining three months of the year, after our return 
from Mangaia, were chiefly devoted by myself and Mrs. Gill 
to our church, and school, and station work at Arorangi. 

At this time there were about 3,600 people on Earotonga,. 
1,000 of whom were at Arorangi. At Arorangi, during the 
year 1841, there had been 90 deaths, 40 births, 16 marriages ; 
24 adults and 26 children were baptised, 28 members were 
received into church, and 300 adults and 400 children were 

in our schools. 

« « « * • 

It will give an idea of the Bible intelligence of these 
natives at this early stage of the mission if I transcribe a list 
of texts, or subjects, I preached from on successive Sabbaths, 
for three months, — January to March : — 

" Remember all tlie way the Lord hath led thee." 

" Let 113 go unto Christ, outside the camp," &c. 

** One God, Jehovah, the only Being to worship." 

" Those who walk in pride, God wiU. humble." 

^ Those who shall shine as stars in the heaven." 

" Those whose goodness is as the morning dew." 

"We are encompassed with a cloud of witnesses," &c. 

" Those who sleep in Christ, God will bring," &c. 

** God's book of remembrance." 

"The golden rule." 

"Christ will give His disciples a white stone." — Rev. ii. 17. 

"They all began to make excuse." 

" The pastor's watchfulness and labour." 

" The crown of glory laid up for believers." ' 

"Thou hast in love delivered my soul."^ 

"Foundation laid on the rock." 

1 08 Selections from 

^The dead shall hear the Yoice of the Son of Man." 

** Being in gall of bitterness and bonds of death." 

" God's loYe manifested by the preaching of Jonah," &c. 

" Why God does not answer prayer." 

*'' The new song and the singers in heaven." 

" The evil of the impenitent heart" 

^Despise not the goodness of God's love," &c 

^ He, Christ, has entered into heaven for ns." 

'* The Lord working with the apostles." 

" The prayer of Jabez." 

** The good old way." 

^ The committal of Jesus by Pilate." 

" The prayer of the penitent thiel" 

'^The heavenly house not made by hands." 

Sermons on these subjects were listened to with interest 
"by a congregation of 1,000 people, more than half of whom 
would meet, in classes of twelve to fifteen persons, in the 
village after service to talk over what they had heard. The 
plan had been introduced by the native teachers from Tahiti, 
and we found it work well, both on the minds and the lives 
of the people. 

Amid this advance in the mental and spiritual progress, 
the people were encouraged by us to improve their dwelling- 
iiouses. Twenty years before this, when they were first 
visited, their huts were miserable reed hovels, damp and dirty, 
And very unhealthy, especially in the rainy season. 

The building of the new stone chapel at Titikaveka had 
created a very general wish in the people to build stone 
houses. This I encouraged, and did all in my power to assist. 
During this year some eighteen neat, suitable stonz hmses 
were built in our settlement, besides one good- sized house, 
"with large verandah, by the chief. It was my habit, whenever 
A house was being bmlt, to visit the workmen once or twice a 
week, and this I found to have a good effect. 

In the midst of these varied labours Mrs. Gill had classes 
of girls four mornings a week, besides a class of adult females 
three days a week. The following is a letter written to 
friends in England by Mrs. Gill during this year : — 

** The good work is still going on amongst us, and a steady increase to 
*he number of the faithful proves, I trust, that our labours are not 
in vain in the Lord. Our schools are also well attended, and the desire 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. lo^ 

of tlie children for instmction is very pleasing. Some time ago I 
selected from the upper classes a few girls whom I taught to write on 
paper. I have sent home some of their copy-books, that you may see 
their first attempt — the paper is bad, but we had not any other at the 
time. I hope their second books will be better done. They are also* 
making progress in arithmetic and geography, having committed nearly 
the whole of their text-book, of the latter, to memory. If some kind 
friends in England would send us an entire set of *Pinnock's Cate- 
chisms,' they would be acceptable. We could make selections, and 
have them translated for the use of our schools. 

" Last May we held our annual meeting with the children of this- 
station and those of Avarua. Early on the morning of Wednesday, 
May 17th, they all assembled in the chapel ; when, after singing and 
prayer, Wm. addressed them fix)m John : ' Will ye also become Hi» 
disciples 1 ' When the service closed, the children partook of refresh- 
ments prepared for the occasion. After singing a hynm. they were 
formed into ranks ; and, with their native banners, painted aU colours,, 
and decorated with leaves and feathers, they marched in procession from 
one end of the settlement to the other. On their return we again met 
in the chapel, where several addresses were given by teachers and others, 
expressive of their joy on the occasion. 

^ One of the deacons who attended the meeting — an old man, once a 
heathen — engaged the attention of the children by reciting, in a vehe- 
ment manner, an ancient invocation to Tangaroa, their idol; he 
said : — * Children and youths, listen to me ; these were our words, and 
this was our manner, in the days of your fathers, who are dead ; yes, 
they are dead. Oh, if they had lived ! if they had lived ! how happy 
would they be to see what I see ! I greatly compassionate you, my dear 
children, and greatly desire that you should know the great deliverance 
you enjoy. Often you have heard me tell of the dark deeds practised 
formerly, before the great love of God reached our land. I will nob say 
much to-day ; but listen to me a little while, and I will just tell you of 
one little child whose fate I knew when I was young. 

" * We were often at war, one chief with another. At a certain season,, 
some time before the great Word of Gtod shined on us, we were at war — 
the people of Avarua with us of Arorangi. No one was safe at that 
time ; if a man, woman, or child went out in the morning, perhaps they 
would be killed before night. During this war of which I speak a 
father and mother left their house in yonder mountain, and went some- 
where by the sea-side towards Avarua. They took their little child 
with them, and being weary they sat down under a tree to rest ; when 
all of a sudden they saw two men of your station not far from them^ 
Ye children of Avarua, listen to me ! What to do they did not know ; 
in a moment, however, they resolved to put the child up in the tree, and 
ran themselves to the bush, and thus escape their enemies, and in th& 
evening return for their child ; but, alas ! the little child was seen in 
the tree by the men. Was it compassionated ] Was it saved 1 No ; the 

no Selections from 

two Avanians took it, and with wild shouting brought it and dashed it 
down on a heap of stones, when in an instant its bowels gushed out^ 
But this did not satisfy their rage. They took up stones and crushed it 
to powder. Alas ! alas 1 that child, that child ! if the good Word of 
God had come just before his time, he would have lived, and would, 
perhaps, now have been in our midst — ^my heart weeps. You, little 
•children, and you, older youths, weep for that child, and for the dark 
deeds of your fathers ! Blessed are your eyes, for you see this season — 
here you are, the children of Avarua and the children of Arorangi, 
united in lore ! Be diligent, be attentive, be followers of God as dear . 
children ! ' The old man then sat down, but the impression his speech 
produced was not soon forgotten. 

'^ How true, my dear friend, is prophetic testimony concerning the 
heathen : ' Their habitation is fall of cruelty, and their feet are swift to 
shed innocent blood.' Oh, cease not to pray for the heathen ! — ^there 
are yet hundreds of islands in this vast ocean, whose wretched inhabit- 
ants are still living, as these once were, unblest by the light of Divine 
truth, but who, through the increased efforts and prayers of the 
churches at home, soon might, like these, enjoy all the blessings of our 
common salvation." 

I wrote to the Directors the following, dated August 27tli, 
1842 :— 

" The letter from the Directors to our churches, inviting them to assist 
by all possible means in the great work of making known the Gospel to 
the heathen beyond them, was fully appreciated both by ourselves and 
the people of our charge. It is, however, but little that the poor natives 
of Earotonga can do towards filling the treasury. A goodly number of 
those, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, are not only willing, 
but anxiously desirous, to give themselves to you and to the work of the 
Lord. These and many others assist you by their constant supplications 
to the throne of Him who values obedience more than sacrifice, and 
whose ear is ever open to the cry of His people ; but of this world's 
goods they have not much. Those of the natives united in classes for 
instruction have been diligent during the past year in planting and 
weeding their patches of arrowroot for the benefit of the Society. 

" On the 15th of June last, we held the Annual Auxiliary Missionary- 
Meeting at Avarua— the station of Mr. Buzacott. At an early hour of 
the morning most of the people at this station assembled in the chapel. 
After singing and prayer, Makea Davida was re-appointed as Treasurer. 
Several speeches were delivered by natives, testifying their gratitude to 
the churches at home, and their love to the Saviour for the blessing of 
grace so richly enjoyed by them. The captains of two American whaling 
vessels lying off the island attended the meeting, and gave some 
account of the revivals in America, together with the growing interest 
in missions there ; exhorting the people by every practical means to seek 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. iii 

the [extensioii of the blessings of the Gospel to the ^heathen beyond 

^ Bio, one of the fiist native teachers to the island, gave an address, 
-which was listened to with great interest. He said, ' Blessed are our 
eyes, that we see these rays of light. Our fathers were bom in dark- 
ness, and in darkness their years fell behind them. The various genera- 
tions of chie& have died without seeing those days ; but we are now 
rejoicing continually in the light from heaven.' 

" Addressing the young, he said, * You ought indeed to exalt your 
voices high in praise to Jehovah. He has saved you from the pit of 
heathenism. We, your fathers, know the character of that pit. Some 
of you were bom there ; but now you resemble stones dug out of dark- 
ness and filth, and built up, by the love of Jesus, into a house of light 
and glory. You do not know what we knoww The reign of Satan is a 
dark reign — ^a reign of death. We, your fathers, have lived under his 
dominion. The place in which we are now met was once a fearful 
place — ^a place of murder. We lived in the mountains, and hid our- 
selvesi in the holes of the rocks and in the caves of the earth. Our 
spear was our companion^-our stones of murder our choicest property. 
Aue I aue ! aue ! (Alas ! alas ! alas !) we ate flesh — ^human flesh — and 
drank hlood; but now we are saved. Great is the love of God ! Let 
our hearts be glad — ^let our voices be exalted — and let us do what we 
can to send the Word of God to those who are as we were. The churdies 
of Britain are doing much now ; and they call on us to help them ; we 
have no real property, but we all have land, and we all know how to 
plant. Let us plant — continue to plant — ^arrowroot, to assist in this 
great work ; and what we do with our hands, let us see that our hearts 
be there also ; that will be weU pleasing to God.' 

"After the meeting, the arrowroot prepared by the classes was 
weighed — ^it amounted to 1,400 lbs. (two years' subscription). The 
people of this station, Avarua, were prevented from preparing their 
arrowroot last year, owing to their building a new school-house, their 
old one, together with their chapel, being blown down by a fearful hur- 
ricane in March, 1841. 

" A few days after the above meeting, one of a similar kind was held 
at our station, Arorangi, at the close of which 900 lbs. of arrowroot 
were subscribed, together with three dollars and twenty-four bundles of 
dried banana. The people of the station, with the children of our 
school, have planted for the ensuing year, and by their cheerfulness in 
the work give proof of their desire to aid, as far as in them lies, the 
holy cause to which they owe so much." 

I sent also the following translation of letters from the 
native officers of our Auxiliaries at Arorangi and Mangaia, 
addressed to the Directors and friends of the Society gener- 


1 1 :^ Selections from 

** Our friend and brother, he who writes sends greeting. This, my 
letter, is concerning the growing of the Word of Grod and His Church at 
Arorangi. We are greatly rejoiced while thinking of your compas- 
sionate love to the heathen, and the great work you are doing by your 
Society. Ours is a land of no property ; nevertheless we have contri- 
buted arroMrroot, and, for the three years now fallen behind us, we have 
assembled at one place. No ships have come to buy until now. Now 
Mr. John Williams has come, and we have given over the property 
to him. 

" We were heathens formerly, and then we neglected this good work ; 
but when Williamu came and brought our first teacher, whose name 
was Papeiha, we found life, and the darkness fled. It was as Paul has 
written, * We were once darkness ' (Eph. v. 8) ; and, as John says, * The 
light shined in the midst of darkness, and the darkness comprehended 
it not ' (chap. i. 5). Then it was we knew that good was the Word of 
Gk)d. Then were our idols abolished, and now we are thinking that thus 
shall be the growing of the Word of God in the lands jjet remaining in 
darkness, who know not the salvation and loving-kindness of God. 

" The arrowroot (2,306 lbs.) has been sold to Mr. Williams for money, 
amounting to £24 Os. 5d. There is joined to it £6 IVs., making in adl 
£30 178. 5d., which Mr. Williams will forward to the Society through. 
Dr. Ross, Sydney. 

" This is the conclusion of my letter. " Na Setephano." 

"Mangaia, September 10th, 1842. 

" Friends, Brethren, and Sisters, — Blessings on you from God,, 
and from the* Lord Jesus our Saviour ! We were heathens formerly, 
when Williamu first came to us in his vessel. They brought to us the 
Word of God, but we took the teachers and ill-treated them, and their 
wives. We scattered their property, and took the books they brought 
us as ornaments to our heathen dances. This we did in our blindness ; 
but when we knew the Word of God we greatly wept. The Word of 
God has grown very great among us, and the word spoken by Isaiah has 
been fulfilled (chap. ix. 2). Through . your compassion and prayers we 
have obtained the knowledge of Jesus our Saviour. Our former gods 
were wood and stone, and great in number ; each family had a separate 
god, but now we have one God, as was written by Paul (Ephes. ii. 13). 
Look you at that passage ! 

" Brethren and Sisters, we send the property we have collected to- 
assist you and the churches of Britain. It has been subscribed by the 
churches at Mangaia — ^but it is very little. Ours is a land of no prop> 
erty. This is the amount of what we have subscribed : £11 12s. 6d. 
It is not ours — ^it is yours. 

" Brethren, here is another little word of ours to you ; we are much 
in want of slates, paper, pens, ink, and pencils. We have learnt to 
write on sand and leaves, and we greatly desire that you should give us 
a supply of the things mentioned. 

The Rev. TV. Giirs Autobiography. 113 

"We are greatly rejoiced at the testimony of Paul (2 Cor. T. 18, 19). 
By that word we know our former state of blindness, and that now we 
are reconciled to God. Because of the great love of God, our war-clubs 
are laid aside, and we are become brethren. 

" This is aU we find to say at present. 

"Na NuMANGAiiNi, who collects the property at Mangaia 
for the Society. 

" Na Solomona, who writes at Oneroa, the Great Settlement." 

Speech of a Eaeotongan Chief. 

At a meeting of the Australian Auxiliary to the London 
Missionary Society, held at Sydney, in August, 1842, the fol- 
lowing speech was delivered by Makea, a native chief of 
Earotonga, then upon a visit to the colony with his respected 
pastor, the Sev. A. Buzacott, who acted as interpreter on 
the occasion : — 

"Sons and daughters, and those amongst you who are chiefs and 
members of the churches, your attention I crave while I deliver to 
you a little speech. I think you will not despise me in consequence 
of my colour, but will have patience while I tell you something of what 
God has done for me and my people. I wish to make known some of 
the evils which formerly grew in my own land. The evils of which I 
wish to speak first are wars ; then of cannibalism ; then of the plurality 
of wives which prevailed in my land ; and the way in which God has 
been pleas^ to remove these evils. I do not wish to dwell upon them, 
because they are now abolished, but to make known to you how God 
was pleased to send His messengers, who came with the Word of Life in 
their hand, and said, * This is the Word of God ' — ^though we did not 
know what was meant by it. After Papeiha, Mr. Williams, who is now 
dead, arrived among us, and idolatry was abolished ; but not the evils 
connected with it : they still remained, and were practised secretly in a 
very great degree. When Mr. Williams arrived, he explained more fully 
the love of God in sending His Son Jesus Christ ; still we were in partial 
darkness as to these great and wondrous things. When the teachers 
explained more fully the true God, some of the people said they were 
deceiving us, that Jehovah was a deceiver, and that their gods of wood 
were true gods ; but now these things are more clearly revealed to us, 
and we have abandoned our gods of wood and stone. You understand 
what I have already said, that the gods we formerly worshipped were 
deceivers ; but it was not soon that we could abandon the evil things 
connected with idol worship, and, had it not been for the power of Jeho- 
vah, these things would still remain : this power has operated, not only 
in an outward manner, but in showing us th'e evil of our nature, and in 

1 1 4 Selections from 

leaving us to abandon our evil courses. I hope you will bear with me 
while I endeavour to explain the means God employed in causing the 
good Word to grow in our land, and in destroying the evils which re- 

" The people had embraced Christianity in name, but knew little of 
its power ; but they have been visited by affliction, and these afflictions 
have been great, and they have been sanctified. After Mr. Williams 
left us, God was pleased to make Mr. Buzacott an instrument of ex- 
plaining more fully the love of Christ in dying for sinners — ^this has been 
the means. Here I stand before you a^ a Christian, and to what are we 
to attribute it — to your love % to your compassion ? No ; it is in conse- 
quence of the love of Gk)d — ^the mercy of a Saviour — ^that I have been 
made a Christian, and stand before you this day as an evidence of what 
the work of God has been among us. You are well acquainted, dear 
friends, with that passage of the Word of God spoken by Paul, and 
which well applies to us, * We were once darkness, but now are we light 
in the Lord.' Formerly we had bad gods ; we were bad men ; had bad 
clothes, bad bread, bad water, and lived in bad houses ; but now we 
know the tnie God, and have good clothes, good food, good water, and 
good houses to dwell in. You are white — ^you know the good God, and 
have good clothing, and everything good — these all follow in the train. 
But, though we are of a different colour, God does not look at that. He 
has not prepared heaven for one colour only — we shall not be rejected 
in consequence of our colour — God is no respecter of persons. He looks 
at the heart. Why is it that you have not understood the command of 
Jesus Christ, * Go ye into all the world, and preach the Grospel to every 
creature.' England has sent the Gospel and missionaries that have 
taught us respecting the true and living God, and by this means we have 
become His professed people. Who has observed the command of Christ 
— who has obeyed it among you — * Go ye into all the world % ' How is 
it that none from Sydney have been sent — that none from the church 
here have been qualified for this great work \ Why leave it to ignorant 
natives, such as myself ? We may do very well to go before, to prepare 
the way, but missionaries are wanted. At every land we come to the 
door is open ; every one is saying, * We want to know ^hat is the Word 
of God * ; let them not die for want of help. 

" I have one little word more for you, and shall then have done. I am 
inuch delighted to look upon your faces ; I have seen something which 
neither my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, nor any of my 
ancestors, have seen ; they all perished in darkness, and only saw evil, 
such as killing and eating each other ; but, in consequence of knowing 
Jehovah as the true Grod, I stand before you, and see this beautiful 
house — these beautiful lights — which your hands have made, and behold 
these friends who make my heart rejoice. I have only one little word 
more to say ; that is, I commend you to God and the word of His grace. 
Do not forsake the Word of Life — do not follow that which leads to death ; 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography, 115 

"but every one of you seek that which leads to life— and again I commend 
jou to God, now and for ever." 

Previously to sitting down, Makea's attention was called 
to the money lying upon the table, in reference to which he 
observed : — 

"This is what I have to say — these are the subscriptions from the 
•churches at Karotonga — ^it is very little ; but we have not money as you 
have — what we. get we are happy to give. Mr. Williams told us some- 
thing about what the people of England did : how they collected money 
for the Society to send forth the Gospel ; when we knew this, our desire 
began to grow for other heathen lands who knew not the true God ; and, 
therefore, having been told how we might set to work, we planted some 
land, and sold the produce. This is the result — the sum amounts to 
About £90." 

We had been now about three years on the island, and 
we were happy in our work. Many trials, and some incon- 
veniences, were, of course, experienced. The " Camden " had 
had its route disarranged by the death of Mr. "Williams, and 
our want of supplies was being felt rather heavily; hence 
we were glad indeed this year to receive a visit of the 
*' Camden " direct from Sydney. Our boxes had been lying 
in wet cellars some twelve months, and when they came to 
us they had been packed some two years. But, alas! on 
being opened, almost every article of clothing, barter, and 
food was completely spoiled; most of the things were as 
rotten as tinder. Two or three large packets of letters from 
parents and friends lay in the middle of one of the boxes, 
but crumbled to dust as we touched them. This was most 
trying. It was the only time I ever saw Mrs. Gill give way 
to sorrow. 

But the charge of the two stations which devolved upon 

us took ofif* our attention from being too much absorbed in 

our troubles, for our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Buzacott, had been 

appointed to visit the out-stations in "West Polynesia, and 

also to visit Sydney. For nine months Mrs. Gill and I had 

to attend to the two stations, Avarua and Arorangi, and 

undertake the care of the students in the institution, besides 

the superintendence of the printers and press. 


II 6 The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 

Before I left England I had never been in a printing-office^ 
and knew nothing of practical printing ; but by this time, 
by frequent visits to the native printing-office, I had become 
pretty well able to attend to its operation. 

Native young men, whose fathers had been heathens, had 
learnt at Tahiti all press work, and were able to perform 
all its branches with wonderful correctness, though rather 




I^V'hile thus fully engaged in the work . of the two stations 
I had again hastily to visit the island of Mangaia. The 
following is an account of the cause^ and of the work done 
on the island during this haaty visit :- 

An American whaler had called at Mangaia, and had taken 
in a supply of hogs, yams, potatoes, &c. ; the captain had 
43hown much kindness to the people. On his taking leave, 
they aaked him to favour them by giving two or three 
volleys from the "pupui maata o te pai" — ^big guns of 
the ship— the report of which they had heard was like 
thunder. Getting on board he gratified this desire; the 
thunder report of the great guns wonderfully astonished and 
pleased them. 

To return the compliment, Maretu, the teacher, filled his 
double^barreUed gun with powder, and fired a salute ; in doing 
so the barrels burst, and one of his hands was completely 
shattered, and the poor man fell, as dead, to the ground, A 
canoe was immediately sent to the ship to give information 
of the accident ; the captain went on shore, and, after giving 
all the assistance in his power, he sailed for Barotonga to 
communicate the distressing intelligence. • 

A small schooner had just come to Barotonga from Tahiti. 
This I chartered and sailed for Mangaia, which I reached a 
week afb^r the accident. Getting near to the shore, several 
natives came off in their canoes, calling out as they ap-« 
proached us, " Praise be to God ! You are come ; hasten ; 
Maretu still lives, and has been praying to see you." Poor 
fellow! His hand was fearfully lacerated, and he was in a 
high state of fever. 

1 1 8 Selections from 

Detaining the vessel several days, we did our best to sub- 
due the worst symptoms, but concluded that in order to 
prevent mortification it would be necessary to amputate some^ 
part of the arm. Not wishing to undertake this responsi- 
bility alone, I resolved to remove him to Earotonga ; this was- 
done, and the good man recovered, re-entered on his labour, 
and is now one of the fathers among the native pastors of the 

Previous to our leaving the island, I visited the ikirdr 
settlement, Ivirua, and was much gratified with the evident 
marks of industry. The land is sterile and unfruitful, 
compared with the luxuriant richness of Earotonga, whose-, 
mountain summits and lowlands are alike covered with ricli 
variety of verdure ; but here the well-watered and cultivated 
valleys form a striking contrast to the surrounding barren 

Tlie houses which form this village are built on rising^ 
ground in one of these valleys, surrounded with taro and yam 
plantations, and shaded with the wide-spread branches of the 
lofty cocoa-nut trees. The population was about 500, sixty of" 
whom were in church communion, and two hundred children 
were in the school. 

During my stay I had frequent conversations with the 
peojple respecting their former heathen state, and the blessings 
of the Gospel which were now enjoyed by them. The older- 
natives gained new vigour while they related, in language 
of deprecation, the facts of their idol-worship and their 
heathenism. The last of those who had seen Captain Cook 
had died a month or two before my first visit ; but most or 
the present population remember the accounts respecting him 
and his ship, as given by their parents ; and they preserve^ 
with great sacredness an axe and two or three knives, which 
were left on shore by this discoverer of the island. 

It was interesting to witness their emotions of sorrow- 
while they told us of their cruelty towards Papeiha, the 
teacher whom "Williamu" wished to leave among them, 
and of their subsequent affliction, by which they said God 
prepared their hearts to receive Davida. They also told 
a singular instance of their heathen ignorance and super- 

The Rev, W, Gilts Autobiography, 119 

stition. When Davida landed on the island, he brought 
with him a pig. Having never before seen any animal 
larger than a rat, the people looked on this pig with emo- 
tions of awe ; they believed it to be a representative of some 
invisible power. The teacher did all he could to convince 
them that it was only an animal, good for food and for trade ; 
but they were determined to do it honour ; they clothed it in 
white-bark, sacred cloth, and took it in triumph to the prin- 
cipal temple, where they fastened it to the pedestal of one 
of the gods. For some time the beast resisted such honour, 
and made attempts to get at large, but all efforts to escape 
proved futile; for two months her degraded votaries brought 
her daily oSerings of the best fruits of the land, and pre- 
sented to her the homage of worship. At length, however, 
she repaid the devotees by " a litter " ; and for a while the 
young ones were considered as sacred as the mother : they 
were kept within the precincts of the temple, until, becoming 
more unmanageable than their duwh gods, they were left to 
the privilege of a wide range over the land. The teacher, 
who had not ceased to ridicule their folly, succeeded now in 
having the sow returned to him, which he killed, cooked, 
and ate ! Thus was the spell broken ; and since then the 
posterity of this honoured ancestor of the pig tribe have been 
left to their natural state, administering no small gratification 
to the people at their feasts ; and, by barter, are now the 
principal means by which they obtain property from ships 
that call at the island. 

During the twelve months since I had left them, the people 
at Ivirua had built a large and commodious chapel, and my 
present visit was made an opportunity for opening it. It 
was an interesting day's service. The sound of the chapel 
gong echoed from valley to valley, in the place where, only a 
few years before, all the people were idolaters. Company 
after company came over the hills and through the planta- 
tions to enter the new house of God. My text was Isa. 
Ivii. 7 : " A house of prayer for all people.'* 

Thus ended 1842. 





The £rst Sunday in 1843 saw us back at our own station, 
and we were pleased to see signs of much success in our 
work ; eighteen natives were received into the fellowship of 
the church, and seventeen were baptized. 

Early in January Mr, and Mrs. Buzacott returned from 
Sydney. We were cheered also with a visit from Mr. 
and Mrs. Eoyle, from Aitutaki, who were, after four years' 
isolation and trial, needing rest and society. 

As soon as practicable, Mr. Buzacott and I arranged to 
meet two or three days a month to revise the manuscript 
and native-printed proofs of the Rarotongan Bible — sl work 
we had commenced before he left for Sydney, and which we 
now desired to finish, that it might be sent to England for 
printing at the first opportunity. 

As the people were advancing in civilisation they wished 
for more frequent visits of ships to the island* To encourage 
such visits market-houses were built near the harbours, and 
a native salesman was appointed to take charge of each, and 
market laws were printed for the regulation both of sellers 
and buyers. These laws were introduced from Tahiti, and 
all these improvements were made mostly under the conduct 
of the natives themselves. From seventy to eighty whaling 
and other ships were then visiting the island yearly for sup- 
plies, from America, France, New Zealand, Tahiti, and other 
places. We only had visits from four English ships all the 
years I was on the island. 

Two efforts were made by natives of this group to build 
small vessels — one by the people of Aitutaki, who, in 
heathen times, occasionally visited Earotonga in large double 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 121 

canoes for purposes of war and bloodshed; the other by 
the people of Avarua, who desired to emulate the enter- 
prising traders who came in small vessels from Tahiti. Both 
these vessels were finished, but only made one voyage each, 
when they were wrecked. 

At this time the missionaries were the only foreigners 
xesiding on tixe islaud. and we untiringly rendeLi aU help 
at our command to develop the industry and commercial 
enterprise of the people. We encouraged them to cul- 
tivate the growth of cotton. Coffee we had introduced, 
and we now urged them to plant it out freely. Arrow- 
root also was generally grown and prepared for sale. I 
planted pips of South American oranges, and in subsequent 
years I had the satisfaction of seeing them grow and bear 
fruit. Fire-wood was largely bought by ships. Yams, potatoes, 
bananas, &c., &c., were in much demand, so that even at this 
•early period the people were getting weU supplied with 
foreign goods and with money. 

During this year we commenced a weekly native periodical, 
called the " Puna Vai " (Fountain), intended to be a record 
of events on the island, and to give general information gained 
from the outside world. This little work was paid for in 
arrowroot, and had a large issue, and the people much appre- 
-ciated it. In after-years the " Fountain " was laid aside, and 
a newspaper called the " Manu Rere" (Flying Bird) was 
printed ; this was a more pretentious production, and had a 
wider circulation. 

Besides these varied efforts for the improvement of the 
people, the church at Arorangi built a school-house on my 
premises, where I had from twelve to fifteen native youths 
in training. This school engaged much of my time, but was 
successful, and after a while several young men grew up 
who were able to take the oversight of it, and greatly to aid 
in the general work of the station. 

About the middle of 1843 it was decided that Mrs. Gill 
and I should pay a visit to all the islands of the 
group, to see the churches, and to arrange plans for our 
native teachers residing on them — these islands had native 
teachers only, except Aitutaki. It was also planned that 

122 Selections from 

we should go in search of an island reported to be a day's 
sail to the south-east, called Tuanaki, and then remain six 
months on Mangaia. 

The little Samoan-built schooner, ** Sarmbd and Mary I* 
came to Barotonga just at the time, and this we chartered. 
On the 29th of May we embarked, with several teachers 
and natives going to the islands. After a tliree days' voyage 
we reached Aitutaki. 


Eev. H. Eoyle landed here in 1839. He had experienced 
very much trouble and danger during his four years' 
residence, but now the people were all under instruc- 
tion, and Mr. and Mrs. Eoyle were reaping the fruits of 
former years' labour and suffering. A hurricane had recently 
devastated the plantations, and the poor people also were 
suffering severely from dysentery when we arrived. For some 
time most of the people had been living on roots of shrubs 
and trees, which are only resorted to in extreme famine. 
While in the midst of these troubles the heart of the mis- 
sionary was cheered and encouraged by an- ingathering \j(} 
the church of some who had been the most wicked and 
abandoned on the island. No fewer than fourteen of such 
were in one year convinced of their sin, and enlightened in 
heart ; and these, by a subsequent consistent Christian life 
and conversation, proved the genuineness of the change 
which they had undergone. 

Two of them had been ringleaders in an outbreak whicli 
took place some years before, and had sought to destroy 
the life of the missionary. In speaking of them, Mr. Eoyle J 
says : " I shall not soon forget the emotions with which the 
members of the church listened to their confessions of sin 
and guilt ; and from my own eyes, I am not ashamed to 
confess, they drew copious tears." These converts learned to 
read weU, and some of them became useful teachers in the 
schools! This class of natives, it will easily be imagined, 
were looked upon by the missionary with peculiar interest: 
in the days of their ignorance, when they little understood 
the benevolent intentions which actuated him, or the genius 


The Rev, Wl GilVs ^Autobiography. 125 

of the Gospel which he taught, they had done many evil 
deeds; but now they were as docile as they had been 
formerly wild, as truthful as formerly deceitful, and as useful 
as formerly injurious. 

During our stay on Aitutaki, we were enabled to realise the- 
fruits of Mr. Eoyle's devoted labours. We had heard much, 
but the half had not been told tls. In the settlements and 
houses, and in the persons and manners of the natives, we- 
were pleased to see a total absence of everything which 
characterised their former rudeness. The schools had the 
daily personal attention of the missionary, and upwards ol" 
one hundred members were united in church communion. 

But Mrs. Eoyle's health failed, and relief from labour, 
with change, was deemed essential to her recovery; the- 
natives, therefore, began to build a small schooner, with a 
view to bring her to Earotonga. Happily, however, before it 
was completed an American captain called at the island, and, 
as previously mentioned, the mission family went to Earo- 
tonga, where they rested awhile from their labours. 

Many of the natives accompanied them. During their 
stay it was pleasing to see Papeiha and Tapairu and the- 
Aitutakians often grouped together, talking of the inci- 
dents of their early lives. At a public meeting, held 
to welcome the strangers, one of the Aitutakians, an old 
man, addressed the assembly as foUows : — '' Brethren, let us 
praise God to-day that we, who once lived in idolatry on 
Aitutaki and Earotonga, are now worshippers of Jehovah,, 
the true God. Oh, the love of God ! How great it is ! Let 
us rejoice that we are met together here to talk about that- 
love. We have been brought across the soft path of the sea,, 
and now in this house of prayer we look at each other with 
wonder. We, the old people, know the dreadful state from- 
which we have been redeemed. Let vs talk to-day ; do not 
let the young men speak, but let us old men rise up and tell 
what the ' Evangelia a Jesu ' has done for us. Brethren, my 
heart is full. Suppose we at Aitutaki had built a vessel in« 
our heathenism and had come to you. How should we have 
been treated? What would have been the result? We 
should have been murdered, and you would have taken our 

f 24 Selections from 

proper^ and ahip as your own. Bat how different is it with 
Tis now! We are safe, our property is safe, and you cell us 
'BnOiTtn'X All this comes out of the love of God. The 
great sea we have crossed is become a sea of love ; the air we 
hreadie is full of love ; firom the top of the mountains, down 
to the valleyB, there is no more heard the sound of war, but 
the voice of love ; the church of Aitutaki is come to salute 
the church at Barotonga, and you have embraced us in love. 
Brethren, let us praise God ; He is the Author of this/' 

These delighted and gratefiil people returned to Aitutald 
much refineshed in heart and strengthened for Christian 
duties. In the year 1846 I again visited them, and nothing 
was more palpable than the advance which they had made in 
knowledge and civilisation. 

With a view to show the importance of having a ship in 
those seas exdtudvdy devoted to the service of the mission, I 
will narrate a few facts connected with missionary voyages in 
-other ships. Mr. Boyle had been waiting some time on a 
neighbouring island for an opportunity to return to Aitutaki. 
At length one occurred; and, agreeing to give a fair re- 
muneration, it was gladly embraced; but it was attended 
with circumstances of discredit to the captain and danger to 
the mission^uy. Arriving off Aitutaki, they found the sea 
running so high as to render landing all but impossible. 
Uncomfortable, however, as circumstances were on board the 
«hip, yet, for the sake of safety, the missionary proposed to 
lay off the island until the next day ; this being denied by 
the captain, he signified his willingness to be taken on to the 
port whither the vessel was bound, but this was refused, and 
he was reluctantly compelled to descend into the boat and 
to attempt a landing. On reaching the reef the surf was 
rising so high that another effort was made to prevent what 
appeared to be a most foolhardy act : pointing towards the 
passage in the reef, through which the boat would have to 
pass, " Do you think you can enter now you see the real 
estate of the sea ? " inquired the missionary, who was anxious 
for the safety of his wife and children with him in the boat. 
" I mean to try," was the answer of the man who had charge 
of the boat; and instantly he ordered the crew "to pull 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 125 

smartly;" but a mighty biflow swept over them which 
rendered their oars as useless as straws, and, gunwale deep 
in water, the boat was carried out to sea. " Take us back to^ 
the ship," the missionary said ; " we dare, not make another 
attempt to land in the present state of the surf." " I will 
not detain the ship," was the reply ; " you mmt land ! " By 
this time a numerous body of natives had come to the reef, 
some of whom swam off to the boat, and, finding that the- 
captain was determined, they, at the risk of their lives, ren- 
dered all assistance in their power, and succeeded in efifecting. 
the landing of the mission party. 

On another occasion, returning to Aitutaki from a visit to 
an island a hundred miles distant, trials and dangers were, 
undergone which Mr. Eoyle described as follows : — *' It was. 
many hours after we left the shore before we reached the 
vessel; and when we came on board we found the mate, 
part of the crew, and some of the passengers in a state of 
intoxication. "We were nirte days and nights making a 
passage which, by proper management, ought to have been 
made in thirty hours. During this time I do not think 
I was two hours in the cabin. In fact, it was some time 
before any cabin accommodation could be gained for us, 
and, when gained, I used nightly to see my family into 
their berths, and then return on deck, where my mind was 
frequently and severely pained by the most obscene language: 
ever uttered by human tongues. We must have passed Aitu- 
taki the second night, but the excesses of the crew led to its. 
not being seen." These notices require no comment ; they 
will show that, apart from other service rendered by th& 
"missionary ship," it is essential to the well-being, if not to- 
the continued existence, of our older missions. 

WTiile at Aitutaki a whaling-ship came for supplies, and 
the captain gave us more information about the island of 
Tuanaki, which we purposed to go in search of after visiting, 
the islands of this group. 

On leaving Aitutaki we sailed for Atiu, and en rotUe made 
two small uninhabited islands, Akaatea and Manua. 

Manua was ^ once inhabited, but now is only occasionally 
visited by natives who go to feed pigs and make cocoa-nut 

126 Selections from 

oil. At Aitutaki we saw a woman who was the only sur- 
vivor of the tribe who formerly lived on Manua: she is 
married. Once a year she and her relatives on Aitutaki 
used to visit this island of her ancestors. She, with twenty- 
four other natives, took canoe the day before we left Aitutaki, 
intending, so they said, to take possession of this small but 
fertile little spot. 

Passing these islands, we came to 


This island was discovered by Captain Cook. When he 
visited Wateoo, he found three natives of Tahiti, who had 
been drifted there in 1765. Forty-five years after Captain 
Cook's visit Christian teachers were placed on the island. 
Their lives were spared, but they were very ill-treated. 

On our landing, several hundreds of the natives came to give 
us welcome. The village was situated on the lull, and was 
about two miles in extent, in the centre of which were a 
large chapel and school-house. The chapel was an old 
building, and in bad repair, but it was well filled on every 
service during my stay. Copies of the New Testament had 
been taken to the island about three years before, and we 
were gratified to find that the people had purchased copies 
to the amount of twenty-six pounds. The desire of the 
natives for the Word of God, and their intense delight in 
listening to its exposition, gave me much delight. 

Walking through the village one evening, I saw a young 
man — a conceited Tahitian — just come to the island, who had 
induced the chief to have a iody-guard of soldiers, after the 
manner of the French Governor and Queen Pomare ; these 
soldiers were being drilled in military style ; they were about 
fifty in number, and armed with sticks instead of guns and 
swords. The chief appeared much ashamed at our remarks 
on this foolery, and said he had merely given his consent to 
please the young people. Eeturning from our walk, we met 
the deacons of the church. Thirty-nine members had been 
admitted, five of whom had been suspended for improper 
ijonduct, and four had died, leaving thirty in communion. 

The Rev, W, GiWs Autobiography, 127 

It was encouraging to see the children's school under the care 
of the native teachers. No fewer than 246 boys and 164 girls 
were present, of whom one-fourth could read well. 

I had a long conversation with the chief of Atiu, explainipg 
to him the wonders that had taken place on his own island 
5ince the people had burnt their idols and embraced the 
doctrines of Jesus Christ. 

The chief and many of his people listened with much 
interest to these statements, and determined to give more 
heed to the words of their teacher than they had heretofore 
done. This chief was especially interested and instructed 
by an exposition of Psa. cxv. and Isa. xlv, 9-20 ; and even 
with the small glimmering of light which he then had 
received, he expressed himself surprised that he and his 
people should have been so long deceived by dumb idols 
of wood, stones, and feathers. A Tahitian teacher was left 
on the island, and, according to his ability, he instructed the 
people. A goodly number of them received the "Word of 
God," and rejoiced in the salvation it revealed ; school-houses 
were erected, and were well attended, and a church was 
formed of those who were thought sincere in their professions 
of Christianity. 

Occasional visits were made to Atiu by the missionaries of 
Tahiti, who, from time to time, were pleased with its progress 
under the superintendence of the teachers. There were, 
however, serious evils in connection with the social life of the 
people, which it was felt could only be overcome by a pro- 
longed residence of an English missionary ; and as this could 
not be speedily gained, Papeiha was appointed to live there 
two or three years. During his stay he gave attention to every- 
thing connected with the progress and purity of the mission, 
^nd the people were much benefited by his experience. 

In 1842, the Eev. E. Krause came to Atiu from America. 
Having a letter of introduction to the people from one of the 
missionaries on Tahiti, he landed on a part of the island where 
neither man nor habitation of man could be seen. The boat 
returned to the ship, and he kneeled down on the lonely 
beach, and implored Divine guidance and blessing. After 
fiome time a youth came to the spot, to whom he gave his 

128 Selections from 

letter of introdaction, and soon after a number of people came 
to him from the settlement, who gave him a kind reception. 
But the circumstances of his landing were most imfavourable, 
and calculated to excite suspicion ; the letter of introduction 
was thought to be authentic, but it was some time before 
they would give full credence to his being a missionary; 
this, together with the evils which he set himself to reform,, 
retarded his success. But in time he was enabled in a great 
measure to overcome the prejudice of the people, and his 
labours were useful both to the teacher and the natives, until 
the illness of his wife compelled him to leave the island 
before his plans had taken full effect on the population. 

The next missionary visits were made by the Eev. H. 
Eoyle, who frequently remained many months at a time^ 
with the people, and he endured much persecution from 
a disaffected party, strong in number and influence. A 
code of laws was adopted, but they were too feebly 
enforced to secure general order and justice to the com- 
munity. The doubtful character of the chief, together 
with that of the native police, rendered it almost im- 
possible to bring the perpetrators of crime to punishment. 
As a specimen of the outrageous conduct of some of 
this party I may state that, one Saturday night, some of 
them secretly entered the chapel, and covered the bottom 
of the pulpit, ankle deep, in mud and filth. This was not 
discovered until Mr. Eoyle entered the pulpit on Sabbath 
morning. Doubtless there were some of the miscreants 
in the chapel, expecting to be gratified by a disturbance 
of the service, but in this they were disappointed by his 
quiet forbearance. He conducted the worship, standing in 
the mire, without uttering one word of reference to the in- 
dignity. The moral effect of this forbearance on the hearts- 
and opinions even of the ungodly was most beneficial and 
lasting, and resulted in a triumph which could not have been 
gained by any act of retaliation. 

Visit in 1845. 

My second visit to Atiu was in the ''John Williams" 1845. 
I was pleased to find that the teacher had prospered in his 

The Rev. W. GtlFs Autobiography. 129 

uvork. The schools were well attended, and the whole popula- 
tion were more enlightened. A service was held ; I preached 
from John xiii. 34 — Christ's love our joy and example. 
Eighteen members were admitted to the church. I was ac- 
-companied by two elderly natives from Earotonga, and on the 
-evening after the service we were walking on the cliffs, 
looking across the wide extending sea, when we were joined 
by some old men of the island who entered into con- 
versation with the Earotongans ; both parties became much 
•animated as they talked about incidents connected with their 
former heathen life, and praised God, who had spared them to 
meet " i rata i tana area " — ^in His love. Numerous deeds of 
fame done by ancient heroes were spoken of. One was con- 
cerning a man who had a desire to voyage to other lands — a 
thing quite novel in the condition of the people at that time ; 
he built a large double canoe, and visited most of the islands 
of the Hervey Group, and returned to his own island in safety. 
During the remainder of his life he was deified by his fellow- 
oountrymen, and was worshipped after his death. His head 
was embahned and preserved for many generations, and, in 
after-years, prior to undertaking a voyage of any length, the 
natives would pay homage to it to ensure safety and 

On my voyage to Samoa, 1846, 1 again visited Atiu, and 
was pleased to find that the people had built a new chapel, 
ivhich, considering their limited means, was a most wonderful 
achievement. The settlement being some distance from the 
•shore, lime-stone was scarce, but in order to make up the 
'deficiency the people had cut down large " tamunu " trees, 
which they had dragged to the site of the building ; some 
planks they cut were twenty feet long, two feet thick, and six 
feet wide; these were placed round the building at distances of 
«ix feet apart, and it was calculated that not less than 3,200 
feet of this beautiful wood, which much resembles mahogany 
were in the walls, and more than a thousand feet of it were 
used in the floor of the chapel. 

As this "are pure anga" (house of prayer) was nearly 

finished, the people made arrangements to have it opened 


1 30 Selections from 

during my stay. If early the whole population came together ; 
two sermons were preached— one from Eev. xxi. 3, the other 
from 1 Tim. iL 5 ; eight members were admitted to the church, 
and the communion of the Lord's Supper was commemorated. 
Many of the old people who had been the first to receive the 
Gospel on the island had died, but it was pleasing to see a 
goodly number of young people rising to occupy their places. 

It cannot fail to interest the friends of missions to know 
the history of the present naiiv^ teacher who has charge of 
the island of Atiu. Tapairu, a woman of the royal blood of 
Earotonga, being at the time a heathen, landed, about the 
year 1820, among the heathen people of Aitutaki. Her rank 
introduced her to the families of the chiefs, to one of "whom 
she became wife. Eupe, her son, was born just about the 
time Papeiha was received by the people; it was his privilege 
to be instructed in his childhood, which introduced him to 
the blessings of the Christian dispensation. On the return of 
Tapairu to Earotonga, Eupe remained with his father on 
Aitutaki. When the Eev. H. Eoyle took up his abode there 
this lad was among the most active and intelligent of hi& 
generation. He early attached himself to the missionary, 
and gave evidence of early piety. He continued to grow in 
stature and in grace, and, after having devoted himself some 
time to the active service of religion in his own island, he 
was sent, with a view to the ministry, to the Institution at 
Earotonga. Here he made great proficiency, and in 1846 he 
was located at Arorangi, where he discharged the duties of 
the station with diligence and success, and thence was re- 
moved to this island of Atiu as the teacher of the people and 
pastor of the church. Thus, as in many other instances, we 
see the children of those who were instrumental in the over- 
throw of idolatry on these islands are now raised up to be 
helpers in the Mission, and to occupy positions that make 
native agency essential to its very existence — an agency at 
once the reward and the glory of our early labours. 

Another illustration of this is afforded in the fact that 
Atiu itself, where no European missionary has ever had a 
permanent residence, has sent its quota of aid to mission 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 131 

work Besides sustaining all expenses connected with its 
home affairs, and contributing to the funds of the parent 
Society in England, it has supplied men, of whom Katuke 
has been for many years, and continues to be, one of the most 
laborious, consistent, and efficient evangelists on the island of 
Mangaia. In 1852 Mr. Eoyle had under his care seven young 
men from Atiu, who were candidates for mission work. As 
an out-station for forty years under native care and control, 
Atiu yields much encouragement. It is one of those 
numerous islands in the Eastern Pacific where idolatry has 
been entirely abolished and Christianity has gained a glorious 


The island of Mitiaro is thirty miles from Atiu. Owing to 
contrary winds, we were three days making it. It is one 
of the smallest islands, only three miles in circumference, and 
has only about one hundred inhabitants. 

Okotai, the native teacher here, was soon on board our ship, 
and assisted us in landing, and at once we commenced our work 
among the people. 

The first settlers on Mitiaro came from Atiu ; cruelties of 
heathen war drove them to this place of exile, and now to its 
present inhabitants it has aU the enjoyments and endear- 
ments of home. 

The poor people told us heart-rending tales of the cruelty 

of the Atiuans, who in past years were wont to man their 

war canoes, and to come in battle array to Mitiaro — tales 

of cruelty and bloodshed too atrocious to be detailed. As 

soon as opportunity presented, the Atiuans conveyed the 

knowledge of Christianity to the Mitiaroans, whom they had 

formerly so cruelly oppressed ; the chief of the island himself 

led the way. On his arrival at Mitiaro, he told the people 

what he knew about the " new religion ; " he exhorted them 

to renounce idol-worship, to place themselves under the 

instruction of a Christian teacher, and to build a " house of 

worship to Jehovah." The ignorant, bewildered islanders 

listened with astonishment, and somewhat of suspicion, to these 

propositions; and under fearful apprehensions, exclaimed, 


132 Selections from 

" What ! forsake our gods ! — Destroy their temples ! ! — ^Bum 
the Sacred One ! ! !— Shall we not die ? " " No," replied the 
visitors ; " No, you will not die ; those are false idols — blocks 
of wood — ^they cannot kill ; we have been deceived in calling 
them gods; forsake them! commit them to the flames!" 
Thus did this once savage chief preach to the people of 
Mitiaro, and was £he means of overthrowing the system of 
idolatry of which he himself, in former years, had been the 

A Tahitian teacher was at this time left on the island ; the 
people commenced learning the truths of Christianity, and 
since then they have been advancing in knowledge and civili- 
sation; for eighteen years did this their first teacher live 
among them, receiving only an occasional visit from the 
missionaries of Tahiti. 

When I first visited the island I was much pleased and 
encouraged at the advanced state of the mission. A number 
of consistent men and women were united in church com- 
munion, the whole of the children were under instruction, 
and the entire population were living in order, peace, and 
social propriety. Much to their gratification, I left among 
them a good supply of slates, pencils, pens, and paper ; and 
also many books for the use of the schools. 

In 1845 I again visited this island, and perceived a 
greater advance in the people. Twenty members had been 
added to the native church ; nearly all the young persons on 
the island could read the Scriptures, and a neat building had 
been erected as a chapel. 

In 1849 the teacher wrote to me, saying: — " I am desirous 
that you should know the true state of the people of Mitiaro, 
and therefore will write all I know. There are many men of 
God here, who love Him and serve Him ; but there are also 
others whose hearts are dark and hard. Yet the Word of 
God is growing ; many of the wicked are subdued by it — the 
powerful Word of God. There are at present twelve whose 
hearts are pierced, and who are coming to me to inq[uire 
about salvation. These were all, a, short time ago, living in 
ungodliness — ^they were loving sin, and were a trouble to 
us ; but now they are very different ; their minds are light. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 133 

and their hearts are soft. True is the testimony of Paul : ' The 
Word of God is life, it is power, sharper than a two-edged 
sword/ This is a true figure to illustrate these inquirers; 
and in them I have joy. Pray for me, that I may be assisted 
in this responsible work. I must also tell you that the 
former chapel built here is not substantial — the people wish 
to have a stone chapel — they are burning lime, but hardly 
beKeve it can be done. I do hope soon to get tools for 
this work — ' Kia ora na koe i te Atua ' — Blessing on you from 

There are many points in such communications as this 
which illustrate the character of the teachers, the work they 
have to do, and the manner in which they do it. The 
following translation of a letter from the teacher's wife will 
be found equally suggestive and characteristic. Writing to 
Mrs. Gill, she says : — 

" My Friend, — ^Blessings on you from Jesus Christ. During 
tliis season of our absence from you, I and my husband are 
frequently thinking about you, and of our dwelling with you. 
Eauraa has sent you word about our joy in the prosperity of 
our work here. This is true, all true. But now I must tell 
you concerning some sorrow that I have in my heart. Smok- 
ing tobacco is much practised here, not only by the men, but, 
alas ! by the women too ! This is very bad, especially in 
women who muke a profession of religion. Eauraa has ex- 
horted them to leave off this practice, and he is firm with 
those who are in adult classes, and who are in the church* 
Some of them have received this advice, but others are stiU 
obstinate. We have, therefore, sought other means to do 
away with this bad practice. Eauraa has a book in which all 
who are willing to leave off smoking write their names to a 
pledge, and the thing is done. This has been a good plan, 
the obstinacy of many has been overcome, and many of the 
women are reclaimed. My heart is glad to tell you that the 
people are kind to us ; one side of my heart is joyous, think- 
ing we are doing good, and that our work is prospered, but 
the other side of my heart has many fears." 

The practice of tobacco-smoking prevails to a very in- 
jurious extent amongst most of the natives of these islands ; 

1 34 Selections from 

and efforts, both by precept and example, are constantljr 
made by the missionaries either to prevent or to moderate 
its use ; but where this teacher gained his idea of " a pledge " 
I am at a loss to conceive, for nothing of the kind, that I am 
aware of, had been introduced by the missionaries. The 
success, however, which attended ^^his eflforts must have been 
encouraging and beneficial. 

At the Institution, Rarotonga, we endeavoured to give the 
students, during their residence there, a knowledge of those 
arts and usages of civilised life which might make them 
useful to the people among whom they labour. Hence 
Eauraa, the teacher on Mitiaro, while teaching the people in 
the schools, was desirous to aid them in building stone 
houses, and encouraged them to begin with a chapel — an 
imdertaking about the accomplishment of which they had 
some doubts. Their first teachers had burnt stone into lime, 
and had built plastered houses, but how stone on stone could 
be so fixed as to be raised many yards high, and become so 
firmly cemented as to bear a heavy roof, was a mystery not 
to be believed until seen. 

Early in 1850 suflBcient lime had been prepared, and the 
teacher fondly hoped that before the end of the year the 
chapel would be finished. A public meeting was convened, 
every proposition was acceded to, and all bade fair to end 
peacefully, until it was proposed not to build the chapel on 
the old site, but on one more convenient and appropriate. 
This was strenuously opposed, and so strikingly illustrates 
their superstitions, that I cannot refrain fix)m noticing it. 
The old chapel stood a little inland from the beach, opposite 
that part of the reef which formed their niost successful 
fishery. By some means they had conceived a notion that 
the sacredness of the spot where the chapel stood and the 
constant good supply of fish were connected and inseparable I 
"What!" they exclaimed, opposing the views of a more 
enlightened party, "What! remove the chapel to another 
spot, and thus deprive us of our principal food! No, we 
will never consent to that ; if that be decided on, we will 
never join in the. work ! " 

The teacher attempted to show the folly of such notions. 

The Rev. TV. Gill's Autobiography. 135 

^nd to reason the matter with them. It was, however, of no 
avail ; their minds were made up — the building should not be 
removed. " Alas ! " exclaims the teacher, " that these people 
^re so slow to leave oflf their old thoughts and ways ! so slow 
to receive the whole truth respecting God ! He is everywhere 
present, doing good to all, and the whole earth is full of His 
goodness. What profit can there be in mere place ? But I 
fear the majority of the people will have it their own way ; 
my heart is sorry, not on account of the place, but because 
•of the wrong thoughts of the people about it. We have 
•decided not to begin the building yet. We must first let 
these errors and troubles fall behind us. I am grieved, but I 
am trjdng to be patient." 

Many of the church members on Mitiaro made an arrange- 
ment to take a voyage to Mauk^, to have a conference with 
their brethren. The teacher accompanied them on this visit, 
and they reached Mauk^ after twenty-four hours' saiL fiere 
the pa4 remained a monih. during which time many reli- 
gious and social services were held ; the old people refreshed 
their memory respecting deeds of bygone years, while they 
encouraged each other to gratitude and praise for the new 
state of things which they now enjoyed, and they exhorted 
the rising generation to hold fast the "Word of Life,** to 
which they were indebted for the happy change. 

On their return voyage to Mitiaro this party had well-nigh 
lost their lives. They embarked on board a native-built 
schooner, and were overtaken by a storm, which kept them at 
sea nearly a week ; at length, however, they made the island 
of Aitutaki Here they attended the missionary May meet- 
ings. Not long after their return the people, improved in 
temper and refreshed in spirit, began to build the new chapel. 
By a little mutual yielding a site was fixed on which pleased 
•all parties ; and in giving the dimensions of the house, the 
teacher says, " It is 72 feet long, 40 feet wide, and the walls 
^re 20 feet high. It has ten windows, and is enclosed under 
two roofs ; every man and woman on the island did something 
towards the building, and even the children helped us ; they 
assisted in bringmg stones and lime, and in drawing the 
timber to the place of building.*' " It is now finished,'* con- 

1 36 Selections from 

tinues Eauraa in his last letter, '' and the people sit and look 
at it with wonder and delight ! My heart is glad, and I thank 
God, who has assisted me in doing this work. His love is 
great ! His power is great ! " 

For three months after the completion of this chapel, the 
teacher and people anxiously waited the arrival of a mis- 
sionary to conduct the opening service; but, being disap- 
pointed, they sent messengers to Mauk^ and to Atiu for- 
some of their friends on those islands to come over and unite 
with them on the occasion. One native teacher read the 
Scriptures, and another preached from 1 Kings viii 10, on 
" Solomon's Prayer," and the whole service was one of devout 
joy. The fathers of this people had never dreamt of seeing, 
so glorious a change in their chfldren. 

As on other islands, the people are now, by their prayers 
and contributions, aiding, according to their ability, the. 
spread of the Gospel to other lands. Their money and 
their arrowroot are cheerfuUy given towards this good 
cause. " It is but little we can do," they say ; " our land is 
small and we are poor, but we cannot deny ourselves the 
pleasure of doing something to spread abroad the Word of 



Leaving Mitiaro, we voyaged to the island of Mauk^. It 
is a reef-hound island, and has no landing-place except 
through the surf that rises, with great violence, over the reef. 

We came in sight of Mauk^ about noon, but, owing to light 
winds, were unable to make up to it, and at nine miles' dis- 
tance I embarked in a boat. The sea was beautifully smooth,, 
and we rowed cheerfully onward until, when the moon arose,, 
we were within half-a-mile of the reef; here, to our surprise,, 
was heard the roaring sound of heavy breakers, and as we 
advanced we heard the deep, long, rolling swell of the surf.. 
Our native pilot paddled ahead in his canoe, but we dared 
not follow; and in this situation, so near danger, so far 
from the ship, and at night, we became perplexed as to what 
plan to adopt. We had, however, but just decided to lay on. 

The R&D. W, Gill's Autobiography/ izT 

our oars all night when we were cheered by seeing a large: 
blazing fire on the beach. Perceiving some of the natives^ 
adjusting their canoes inside the reef, we ventured to row 
nearer ; they made signs for us to go forward in our boat, 
but it being heavily laden we remained some distance, at sea 
until, about midnight, the teacher came off to us. He was 
sorry to find that we had left the ship so late in the evening, 
but had made arrangements to land our boat's company, one- 
at a time, in a large canoe. I shall never forget the wildness 
of the scene, and the roar of the surf, as we came near 
tlie reef; but, waiting a favourable opportunity, our canoe 
mounted one of the highest waves, and we were borne in. 
safety to the shore. On landing, a number of the natives led 
us to the village, situated about two miles from the beach.. 
On reaching the teacher's house the crowd had increased so* 
much that all our party could not be admitted ; the verandah^ 
therefore, was lighted up with torches, and there we took 
our seats, in the midst of more than two hundred people, 
giving to them an account of the state of the islands whence 
we had come, and of what we purposed to do during our stay 
at Mauk^. 

Being somewhat exhausted, I proposed to retire to rest.. 
This was opposed by the assembly ; they said we could sleep 
when we returned to the ship. In the first place, they wanted 
to hear about the growth of the Word of God on Earotonga ; 
and then, as they knew the Earotongans were good singers,, 
they wished to learn some of their tunes. Having brought a. 
supply of hymn-books, I made arrangements for the Earo- 
tongans to teach them some new tunes, which the delighted 
people practised until the dawn. 

The next day we held services in their pretty chapel. In 
the afternoon 1,830 lbs. of arrowroot and 84 lbs. of twisted 
cocoa-nut cord were collected as subscriptions to the London 
Missionary Society, and at evening we left the island grateful 
that our native teachers had been so helped and blessed in 
their work. 

Having finished our visitation of the islands of the Earo- 
tongan Group, we decided that before taking up our abode oiil 

138 The Rev. W. Gilts Autobiography. 

Mangaia we would engage the vessel to go out a few days 
in search of Twiiujiki, the heathen island said to be about 
■a hundred miles south-east of Mangaia. We had not been 
out two or three days, when the winds became stormy and 
the sea very rough, and many of the natives on board became 
very ill from dysentery, and our little vessel showed signs of 
imminent danger ; so that, after a week's unsuccessful voyage, 
we held consultation, and decided to return to Mangaia. 
• It has been found, in after-years, that the reported island 
was Easter Island, due east of Barotonga. 

We reached Mangaia in safety, and the little ship sailed 
direct to Earotonga, where, almost without any warning, its 
rotten timbers broke up. The wonder was that it had held 
together during the high winds and rough sea it had encoun- 
tered during our recent voyage. In mercy our God watched 
over us and our fellow-passengers. 




As stated at the close of the previous chapter, we returned 
to Mangaia. It was my third visit, and I remained there 
six months, and gained much information respecting the state 
of its churches, schools, and stations, which, upon the whole, 
was peculiarly gratifying, as the result of TuUive instrumen- 
tality. One of the most pleasing features of the island at this 
time was the prosperity in both the adults' and children's 
schools. No fewer than ninety male and female teachers 
were daily instructiQg nine hundred children. With these 
teachers I had four, and sometimes six, classes a week, giviQg 
them lessons in history, biography, geography, and Biblical 
expositions. Besides these, I met, every other day, adults in 
church fellowship, and others under iQstruction, of whose 
attainments the following figures will give a pretty correct 
idea : — 

An adult Tnale Bible-class, 23 in number — 19 able to read 
well; 6 had Testaments, 17 had leaves of books only. 
Another male class, 17 in number — 4 only not able to read ; 
only 1 had a complete Testament. In a third class, 19 in 
number — 14 could read well ; each had a Testament. In two 
-other classes, 49 in number — 37 could read well; 42 had 
Testaments. In the adult female classes, conducted by Mrs. 
'Gill, it was gratifying to find that a decided improvement had 
taken place. But much more remained to be done before they 
Attained a proper mental or social position. In a Bible-class 
•of female adults, 14 in number — 3 only could read, and 12 
had portions only of books. In another class, 20 in number 
— 4 only could read, and three only had complete books. In 
two other classes, 39 in number — 18 were able to read, and 
S only had Testaments. 

1 40 Selections from 

In accordance with arrangements made in 1841, no mem- 
bers had been admitted to the church, but all candidates 
had been formed into Bible-classes, receiving weekly instruc- 
tion from the teacher ; and now I found seventy candidates 
for church fellowship, some old, others young. Many of the 
members of the church had also united together into an 
Association for visiting the careless and ungodly. The 
following were the resolutions agreed on by themselves, 
under the superintendence of Tairi, an excellent Rarotongan 
teacher : — 1st. " That compassion towards our brethren who 
are living in unbelief and sin leads us to unite in this plan 
for their good." 2nd. " That we purpose to visit such at their 
house weekly, and also on Sabbath evenings, for conversation, 
reading, and prayer." 3rd. "That we meet the first 
Wednesday of every month at the teacher's house to report, 
and for consultation and prayer." 

The general statistics of Oneroa, the principal station, in 
1843 — not iw&rdy years after the landing of the first Christian 
teacher — were, inhabitants, 2,000 ; number in adult classes,. 
306 ; boys and girls in children's school, 900 ; number in 
church fellowship, 360. For the year ending September 30, 
1843, there were 65 births, 40 deaths, 22 marriages, and 45 
infants, and 4 adults were baptized. 

One afternoon I passed over the low hills which separate 
two districts to visit one of the heathen families. In a long, 
low reed hut I found the father of this family seated on a 
stool. He was tall in person, well clad with native cloth, 
grave in manner, and about forty years old ; numerous orna- 
ments of shell and human hair were suspended at the lobe of 
each ear ; his own hair hung dishevelled on his back, and 
about thirty of his children, and children's children, sat around 
him. '' Friend, I have come to see you," I said. — " Blessing 
on you ! " " What is your name ? " — '' My name is Tira," was 
his reply. " Are these your children ? " — '' Yes, most of them 
are my children." " How many wives have you ? " I enquired. — 

I have only one wife now living ; three are dead," he replied. 

Is this your dwelling-place ? " — ** Yes ; here my father, and 
my father's father lived, and here I live with my cliUdren, 
and here I intend to die." " Friend," I continued, " the light 


The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 141 

of tlie Word of the true God has now been shining a long 
time on you in Mangaia. Have you no desire to attend to 
instruction in that Word?" — "No" he replied; "but 
sometimes I hesitate." " You are getting old, my friend," I 
said, " and death may come and find you destitute of that 
good which alone prepares for another world." — " Yes, death 
may come," he replied, "and then there will be an end." 
'' An end ! " I exclaimed ; " but you believe in a future state, 
do you not ? " — " Yes," he continued ; " but who knows the 
truth about it ? " Here I tried to explain the truths of the 
Word of God, about sin and salvation, this world and the 
world to come. These things were evidently not new to him ; 
but he became sullen and slow in his replies, and concluded 
the conversation by saying that he had seen the folly of idol- 
worship, but that he still believed in the religion of his fore- 
fathers, and that he intended to remain in his present state 
until death. Finding that he could read a little, I sent hini a 
New Testament, expressing my hope that he would read it ; 
but, to the dismay and grief of all, he returned it, saying he 
had made up his mind to do without it. This was Xh^ first 
and only instance known in the history of Mangaia of refusing 
to accept a book, and it produced no little anxiety in many of 
his children. This man was frequently visited by the members 
of the church, but he lived on in obstinate unbelief ; and 
the native teacher, speaking of his death, says : " Tira lay iU 
a long time, and became very unhappy. His mind was light, 
hid his heart was hard. He was full of fear, and trembled 
continually. He told his children not to follow him in 
unbelief." His eldest son became an excellent Christian 
man, and, with many of the younger branches of his family, 
joined the Christian village. 

A fatal epidemic was, about this time, brought to the island, 
and many of the natives were cut off in the prime of life. 
Among these was Ngatai, one of the teachers ; but the joy 
and peace which he experienced in death did much to comfort 
and instruct the people ; not that we needed this to assure us 
of his fitness for heaven, for his life had been a perpetual 
evidence of his faith ; but his dying experience was peculiarly 
appropriate to the afilicted circumstances of the people. His 

142 Selections from 

words of consolation to the godly, and his exhortations to the 
ungodly, were blessed for much good. His last words w-ere : 
" The billows of death are breaking over me, but my vessel is 
safe ; it is fixed by the anchor which entereth within the veil, 
where Jesus, my forerunner, is. My heart is fixed — ^my 


The people of Mangaia, in their heathenism, knew no animal 
larger than a rat. I have previously referred to their ignor- 
ance and superstition at the first pig that was taken on shore. 
I will now give a brief account of the introduction of another 

On my voyage in 1843, we were accompanied by many 
natives, among whom was a young man who was returning 
from Sydney. This young man was taking home a rabbit : 
it was a fine creature, and much thought of by the owner, and 
by the natives on board. One day while on deck, fondling 
his rabbit, and thinking what notoriety he would gain among 
his countrymen for taking it on shore, the yoimg man was ac- 
costed by an elderly man, a friend of his, who was a deacon in 
the Mangaian church — ^a man of known piety and integrity, 
and, moreover, honourably connected with the bench of 
magistrates. " Friend," said this worthy man, " that is a pretty 
creature ; what is its name ? " " It is a rabbit," replied the 
young man, " and," he continued, " they are very numerous in 
foreign lands." *' Numerous are they ? " replied the old gentle- 
man; "allowmeto nurseitawhile. " The rabbitwasimmediately 
handed over to him, and for some time he continued to stroke 
its head and back playfully, and then, in a moment, to the dis- 
tress of all who stood by, he wrung its neck, and cast it into 
the sea ! Astonished and irritated at this unprovoked conduct, 
I united in condemning it, and in demanding an explanation. 
But, finding myself too much vexed to institute a calm inquiry, 
I turned aside, leaving the enraged young man to discuss the I 
matter with his friend, who was provokingly easy, and, withal, 
apparently kind in the midst of the storm of angry words 
which bore down upon him. 

Some time afterward I seated myself in their midst and 
asked an explanation, assuring the deacon that I thought 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 145. 

he had done wrong. " Oh, no," he replied ; " it will be all 
right when we get on shore. I shall report it to the magis- 
trate, the thing will be justified, and the young man 
will receive property more than the value of the animal." 
"Indeed I" I inquired; "how so?" "Last year," the old 
man replied, " a ship came to our land and put on shore two- 
beasts much like that rabbit. At first we were all pleased 
with them, but very soon they became the plague of the 
islaoid. They took up their abode in the hiUs and bush, and 
so rapid was their increase, and so ferocious and wild their 
habits, that they had well-nigh destroyed all our poultry." 
"Tell me what kind of beast it was," I asked. "It was 
much like that rabbit," rejoined he, continuing his conversa- 
tion with an air of consciousness that he had done right. 
"These animals became so destructive that the chiefs and 
landholders held a council and resolved to hunt them ta 
death, and that no such animal should again be permitted to 
be brought on shore." " "What do you call it ? " I inquired* 
" We call it KSao," he answered. " KSao, K^ao," I repeated 
again and again ; " whatever can it be ? " " Oh ! it is a real 
savage beast ! You will soon see it," was the reply. About 
a fortnight after a terrible uproar was heard at midnight in 
the settlement. On making inquiry I saw a multitude of 
half-naked natives armed with sticks and stones, and carry- 
ing flambeaux, and waa told it was a KSao hunt. In a short 
time shouts of victory were heard, and the hero of the night 
w^s seen returning through the settlement holding up a large 
cat by the tail! Yes, it was poor puss! She had been 
landed among a people who did not know her quiet, domestic 
habits ; circumstances had driven her to the bush, where she 
had become wild, and had occasioned these grave incidents- 
in the island life of the people of Mangaia ! The young 
man to whom the rabbit belonged received property, by 
order of the chief, from the public store, which more than 
remunerated his loss, but which did not overcome his regret 
that his quiet and pet animal had been supposed to have 
relationship to the KSao tribe ! 

Among the laws made by the people of Mangaia the one 

144 Selections from 

prohibiting tattooing was the occasion of more trouble and 
•annoyance to the police than any other. The natives here 
more generally practised this art, and were more proficient in 
its execution, than those on the other islands of the group. I 
had frequently questioned the propriety of imposing a penalty 
on its practice ; not that I thought its continuance desirable, 
but from an opinion that the individual who tattooed himself 
♦committed no public wrong, and that a sense of propriety, in- 
duced by a continued course of proper education, would in 
time do away with the custom. The native authorities, how- 
•ever, who knew the design of the practice, were determined 
ix) attach a severe fine to its execution, which occasioned a 
large majority of the young men to be brought into the 
<3riminal court before the age of twenty, which doubtless did 
•as much, or even more, injury to their moral feelings than 
the act for which they were judged. Thus, in things of which 
the native law takes cognisance, the missionary often finds 
opposition to his advice for prudence and moderation, and has 
much diflBLCulty in showing the people the difference between 
•discipline of the church and laws for the establishment of 
national order in a general and mixed population. Caution 
is therefore necessary in advising tribes just emerging from 
heathenism respecting the adoption and enforcement of laws, 
lest they increase and perpetuate the very crimes which they 
desire to subdue. 

I well remember an address given by a young man on his 
admission to church fellowship. He said that between the 
years of fifteen and twenty he had often been publicly tried 
in the criminal court for tattooing, and had been degraded 
and heavily fined. At first he felt the degradation most 
^severely, but he afterwards became hardened, until he found 
himself destitute of any desire for that which was good. 
Thus he grew deeper and deeper in sin, until one Sabbatli 
afternoon he thoughtlessly came to chapel. A sermon was 
preached from Eom. vii. 9, concerning the spirittuzlity and 
oxtent of GocPs law. "It was then," said the young man, 
" that I felt for the first time the nature of the law of Ood — 
I felt that it was above me, and under me, and around me, 
and in me. All my sins, of hand and heart, came to my view. 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 145 

and I became as a slain man. At first I desired to die. It 
is this that has driven me to Jesus as my Saviour and refuge ; 
now I have peace in TTim ; He alone is my joy and trust." 
In this way the efficacy of the Gospel most illustriously 
appears in the regeneration of these degraded tribes — 
translating them from the kingdom of Satan into the King- 
dom of rightembsness, and peace, and joy. 

At the same church-meeting at which the young man was 
admitted, another man from among the heathen gave an 
account of himself. He had been brought to see the error 
of his way by a different means from his companion, but the 
effects of the change were the same. Standing before the 
members of the church, he said: — ^"'Brethren, my heart is 
wondering at the way by which I have been brought from 
my sin, and led to seek fellowship with you. You know that 
I have been one of the most vUe young men in this village. 
It is true I frequently used to come to chapel, but all I heard 
there I laughed at, for I loved folly, and after it I ran. But 
one day, while fishing outside the reef, a shark upset my 
canoe, and for some time he held my thigh in his mouth. 
I had no hope of life ; my pain of body was great, but a 
shining light burst into my mind — all my former life came 
up to my view. The shark stiU held my thigh ; I felt his 
teeth go to. the bone, and I expected it to be bitten off, 
but God had mercy on me. I did not cry for mercy at 
the time, for I had nothing but horror and despair in my 
heart. A companion, who was also fishing, came to my 
assistance, and helped me on shore. I lay ill a long time ; 
many members of the church came to see me, who talked 
and prayed with me, and I was led to see that Jesus was the 
Saviour I needed. I have given myself to Him; He has. 
brought me in your midst to-day, and my heart is full of 
wonder and praise." 

During our stay on Mangaia we visited Ivirua, and then 

proceeded to Tamarua; our path lay over hill and dale — 

sometimes we were on the summits of the hills, whence the 

whole island and the sea lay open to our view; at other 

times we were passing through dales, which were richly shaded 


1 4 6 Selections from 

with groves of cocoa-nut trees. Our company would have 
afforded no small amusement to an English spectator. 
Owing to the badness of the roads, E. was borne in a 
chair on men's shoidders ; I followed, and then came, in single 
file, a motley group of merry natives, carrying our beds and 
boxes, and other articles necessary for a temporary sojourn 
at Tamarua. As we proceeded the old people pointed out 
many spots renowned for heathen cruelty. One of these 
in particular excited our attention. It was a valley at the 
foot of two low hills; on reacliing it, an old man, as if 
awaking from a reverie, exclaimed: " This is a spot of ancient 
fame — this was the devil's ground ! " We halted awhile, and 
another of our company related a sad tale of heathen 
wickedness and horror not often surpassed, even in can- 
nibal heathen life. On an occasion of general peace, 
about six or eight years after the visit of Captain Cook, an 
aspiring chief, who had been defeated in former wars, con- 
ceived a plan of wholesale slaughter before unknown. 
Sending his messengers to all the tribes on the island, he 
gave an unlimited invitation to a feast in commemoration 
of the peace. The day was fixed on; a large quantity 
of food was prepared, and on the morning appointed an im- 
mense number of the people came together. An oven of 
extraordinary dimensions was heated, which consisted of a 
large deep hole dug in the ground, filled with stones heated 
till red-hot. But when all was ready, and each man 
was about to arrange his food in the oven, a host of 
warriors, under the chief who had given the invitation, 
rushed forth at the sound of a preconcerted signal, and, 
with fiend-like fury, drove hundreds of the visitors into 
the flames of the oven. For many days the sky was 
literally darkened by the ascending smoke of this gigantic 
funeral pile ! The old man who gave us this account was, at 
the time it took place, a little boy, but is now a consistent 
. deacon of one of the village churches. " Let us rejoice," he 
;said, addressing those who stood around him, "that those 
dark days are passed away, never to return ; the bright Sun 
'Of Eighteousness has arisen upon us with healing beneatli 
. His wings ; let us rejoice in His light and salvation ! " 

The Rev. TV. GilVs Autobiography. 147 

In the evening a missionary prayer-meeting was held in 
"the chapel of Tamarua; and it was indeed cheering to 
hear the praises and the prayers of those who were once in 
:a state of heathenism ; they were sensible that they were 
indebted to the Gospel for the privileges of their changed 
•condition, and were anxious to extend the same blessings 
to the heathen beyond them. 

One of the oldest men iD the settlement, giving an account 
of his experience, said : — " Listen to me, my brethren ; I am 
-an old man, and, as I have now taken upon me the Word of 
life, I wiU say a little about my former history. I was bom 
^ heathen ; my father was a great warrior, and he determined 
ithat I should be one too. I remember, when I was young, 
Jie frequently led me out to see the bodies of the victims 
lie had taken in war, and he taught me to eat human 
flesh. .Ajs I grew older, I was always with my father; 
he taught me the customs connected with idol worship, 
.and he gave me a war-club, and a spear of his own 

making; and when he knew I had killed N , of 

jronder settlement, he was much rejoiced; a great feast 
was prepared on the occasion, and afterwards I became wise 
in all the practices of the priesthood, and my heathen great- 
ness continued to increase until the teachers, the men of 
J"ehovah, came to our land. Some people of Oneroa received 
them, but we despised them ; I was full of pride and anger 
towards them, and more than once I led my people to fight 
gainst the Christian party. Many of our tribe went to live 
jiear the teacher in order to be instructed, but I, and my 
mves, and our children remained here, at Tamarua. About 
three or four years ago I went to the teacher's village to see 
my brother ; there I first listened quietly to the meaning of 
the Word of God, and afterwards Maretu came to preach in 
this place ; he visited me, and explained to me all about my- 
self and salvation. I then began to attend to the Word of 
God on the day of the Lord, and my mind became enlight- 
ened. I felt that my heart was as old in sin as my body was 
old in years. I have truly been very wicked, but I am now 
looking to Jesus ; He is my Saviour — a great Saviour for a 

£reat sinner 1 " Turning to the members of the church, he 


148 The Rev. W. Gilts Auiobtography. 

said : — " Brethren, in the name of Jesus, receive me as one of 
His saved ones." 

Coming from Tamarua to Oneroa, we prepared for our 
return to Earotonga. An American captain chanced ta 
touch at Mangaia, and he offered us a passage. It was 
Sabbath Iborning when he landed; in the afternoon our 
arrangements were complete, and I preached a farewell 
sermon.^ The large chapel was crowded to excess by a 
congregation of more than two thousand natives, who lis- 
tened with deepest attention to a discourse from Eev. iii. 11 : 
"Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy 
crown." The expressions of affection of the people were 
beyond description. Nearly three thousand of them accom- 
panied us to the beach, while a few of the most sturdy 
and expert took charge of the canoe which bore us U> 
the ship. 

As we sailed away from Mangaia our hearts were full of 
wonder and praise at what our eyes had seen, and what our 
hands had been permitted to do, in the moral elevation of a 
race of men who, less than a quarter of a cmiury before, 
were savage, heathen idolaters, and scarcely known to the 
world, but who now, by ncUive teachers' instntction and our 
occasional visits, had attained a position in intelligence, 
morality, civilisation, and Christian character that suffered 
nothing by comparison with missions of older date. The 
word that Isaiah, the son of Amos, saw concerning the 
mountain of the Lord's house has come to pass : it is 
exalted on the top of the hills, and all the people 
FLOW into it. 





•On returning to Barotonga we were welcomed with gladness 
hy our people, and we devotedly laid ourselves out, for tlie 
•welfare of the stations. E/s health had, for some time 
past, shown signs of weakness. The past year's priva- 
tions, labours, and voyages in little vessels had wrought an 
•evident change, which caused us no little anxiety. We were 
glad, therefore, to have the prospect of a few months' resi- 
dence at Ajorangi, with occasional intercourse with Mr. and 
Mrs. Buzacott, fix)m Avarua. 

At the close of this year, 1843, we were able to tabulate, 
with a correctness which failed in former years, the popula- 
tion and results of Christian labour among the people after 
:about twenty years' missionary eflfort. 

The population of the group was 10,250. There were in 

12 Villages or Settlements. 
4 English Missionaries. 
8 Native Pastors. 
1,115 Church Members. 
3,600 Adults in Schools. 
4,300 Children in Schools. 

The mission was now so far advanced as to require an 
institution for the special preparation of students for mission 
work. I had had, in common with the Eev. A. Buzacott, two 
or three young men under instruction who had gone out as 
teachers to other islands ; but we now felt' the necessity of 
larger premises, so as to accommodate a larger number of 
students. From the experiences of those who had thus 

1 50 Selections from 

taken part in pioneering work, the natives were fully alive to 
the importance of the object we proposed. Feeling how 
much the generations of their own land had lost by delay, 
their zeal would have led them beyond prudence during the- 
first years of their knowledge had not their isolated position 
and limited means kept them in check. Tuanaki, ManiiM, 
Tongareva, Samoa, and other islands were constantly men- 
tioned before God in prayer, and not a few of the nativea 
qualified for the work offered themselves, saying, "O 
Lord, our God, Jehovah, here are we, send us. Let a ship 
come to our help in this work. We feel the heathen to be 
our brethren. O Lord, let us be the means of saving them, in 
this world, from the teeth of the savage, and of leading them 
to Jesus, the Saviour." Such was the language of their 
prayer; and no hymns of praise were sung with greater 
fervour or sincerity than those which had reference to the 
salvation of the heathen. The following are almost literal 
translations : — 

" Mourn for the heathen, 
In blindness they sin, 
Bound as in prison, 
By Satan their king." 

" Let all the idols perish, Lord, 
False every whit are they ; 
Thou, and thou alone, art God, 
Evermore we worship Thee." 

" Shall we who have knowledge, 
And life from above. 
Shall we hide this knowledge. 
This life-lamp of love 1 
It is life, yes, 'tis life ! 
Oh sound it abroad ; 
Let all the world know it. 
And live by this word." 

** Ye messengers of Christ, sent forth. 
Many are your foes and strong ; 
But Jesus is your shield and strength, 
By Him the victory is won ; 
And the crown of everlasting glory, yours." 

An extensive and suitable piece of land was now bought 
of the chief, and a good-sized mission-house, with class and 

The Rev, TV. GilVs Autobiography. 151 

lecture rooms was built, besides small stone cottages as 
separate dwellings for the students. 

The work of this Institution was begun in 1844, and it was 
arranged that I should go from Arorangi twice a week to 
share the work with Mr. Buzacott. This plan was carried 
out during the year, and it gave us opportunities of revising 
together the Scriptures. 

During 1844, in the midst of the varied duties connected 
with the general schools, boarding-school, visiting the insti- 
tution at Avarua, and revising the manuscript of native 
Scriptures, it was resolved by the natives of Arorangi to 
build a new stone chapel, which, as architect and general 
superintendent, demanded from me much time and attention* 
I gave out all the plans for the building on the first day of 
the year; but the building of such a place was a great work 
for these unpractised natives, and it took twelve months 
to complete. Its inside dimensions were 60 feet long, 50 
feet wide ; walls 30 inches thick, and 24 feet high. 

The work was undertaken by the members of the adult 
classes, and, after burning many tons of lime, I made prepara- 
tion for laying the foundation. The day of this ceremony was 
one of peculiar interest. In the morning, while Mr. Buzacott 
and I were selecting a stone in which to place a sealed bottle 
containing a written statement of the time and circumstances 
of its erection, we were met by Tinomana, the chief of the 
station. On being asked whether they were wont in 
heathenism to observe any kind of ceremonies at the erec- 
tion of their " maraes " (idol-temples), he said, " The day of 
commencement was always a great day. He had seen many 
built, and the occasions had always been connected with the 
slaughter of many a bloody human sacrifice. The things of 
importance were the posts of the house ; these were always 
of the best wood that could be found. They were wrought 
by special workmen, and, the least imperfection being dis- 
covered, were laid aside. When prepared, these posts were 
brought with great ceremony to the site of the ' marae.' Wide 
and deep pits for the posts were then dug, into which native 
cloth, axes, poe, and other articles were thrown, and a man 
was buried alive under each post as an act of propitiation.'* 

152 Selections from 

While relating these things, the old chief seemed to become 
young again, and several times exclaimed, " These were days 
of darkness, and the deeds done then were suitable to the 
deviL This is a season of light, and we are all rejoicing in 
the light." 

A numerous meeting of natives, including many church 
members and deacons of the other village churches, was 
held at the station. Makea and Pa, formerly rival chiefs in 
heathen times, but now loving helpers of each other in the 
Gospel work, together performed the ceremony of fixing the 
centre stone of the building ; a hymn was sung, a prayer was 
offered, when good old Tinomana, the first chief who burnt 
the idols of the land, gave a short address. In making refer- 
ence to the mode of building the temples of idolatry he 
repeated* what he had previously stated, saying, "The 
principal pillars were always erected with offerings and 
sacrifices ; food and human beings were placed at the bottom 
of the pit, where the pillar was to be placed, which was 
called a ' tarangaara,' or propitiation to the gods." 

Appropriate use was made of this fact by subsequent 
speakers, and the service closed, forming one of those happy 
events which contrast so strikingly with the former habits of 
this once heathen, but now simple-hearted and grateful 
Christian, people. 

The walls of the chapel were of sawn block coral. It was 
built to seat 1,000 people, with galleries round three sides, 
and vestry behind. The galleries were supported by orna- 
mental pillars. The pulpit was of native wood, stained and 
varnished to represent rosewood, and was furnished with a 
velvet cushion and fringe sent out by friends connected 
with Barbican Chapel. The day of opening was a time of 
peculiar interest. On the previous evening the whole of the 
I)eople from the settlement of Avarua and Ngatangiia arrived 
near Arorangi, where they encamped for the night. 

At the appointed time the members of the difiFerent 
churches, more than four hundred in number, seated them- 
selves in the body of the chapel, leaving the galleries and 
raised seats under the galleries for those in the classes. Every 
foot of room was occupied inside, and for tliose who could 

The Rev. W. G til's Autobiography. 153 

aot gain admittance seats were placed in the vestry and 
round the doors and windows of the building. I should think 
1,500 people, at least, were present. 

After the usual devotional exercises of reading the Scrip- 
tures, singing, and prayer, Mr. Buzacott preached a most 
^ncoumging discourse from Psa. Ixxxvii. 5 : " And of Zion it 
shall be said,This and that man was bom there: and the Highest 
Himself shall establish her." At the close of the sermon we 
united in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. It was a 
hallowed occasion ; we had before us more than four hundred 
souls, the greater part of whom were heathens a few years 
ago, living in the daily practice of everything that is vile and 
degraded, given up to idol-worship, and accounting it their 
greatest and most praiseworthy achievement to kUl one 
another in sacrifice on the altar of their god. How changed 
the scene ! Then they were afar off, without hope, and with- 
out God in the world; ncm they are brought nigh, are 
separated and sanctified by the blood of the Atonement, and, 
we trust, are growing in the knowledge and love of Christ ; 
tlien they were hateful and hating one another; but Tuyw 
have learnt that new commandment, even that they love one 
another as Christ has loved them. These were our medita- 
tions on this sacred occasion, and we felt that it was a season 
of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. "This is the 
Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in our eyes." 




One morning, the first week in 1845, I was engaged with 
the boys in the boarding-school, when the arrival of the new 
mission ship, the " Jolm Williams^* was announced. To our 
great joy my brother George and his wife had come out in 
her to take up their abode on the island of Mangaia. Thus, 
seven years after leaving England, we were permitted to- 
meet and unite in mission work in these islands. 

The new ship had been provided by the churches in 
England to take the place of the *' CaToden!' The following^ 
notes will show the joy we had at its arrival : — 

" It was our happiness, early in January, to hail the arrival of the 
missionary ship, and to welcome our brethren, for the work of the Lord 
in these islands. It was a noble effort — worthy of the children of 
England — ^to purchase so fine a vessel as a thankoffering to the God of 
the fathers and founders of the Society, and to our God, at the close of 
the fiftieth year of the Society, and as a pledge of future attachment 
and effort in the cause of the Redeemer. To us it was one of the most 
welcome sights we had beheld since the departure of the * Camden * for 

" We are encouraged to find that the spirit of missionary enterprise, 
in some degree, keeps pace with the flight of time. The * John Williams,^ 
as a missionary ship, and viewed in connection with the spirit of the 
churches in sending her out, exceeds the * (kmiden ' by as much as 1844 
is in advance of 1838. The interest is a growing one, and must be so, 
until the little one becomes a thousand, and the whole world is brought 
to give homage to Him in whose name we labour." 

The arrival of the new mission ship at this period was 
most opportune, as was the appointment of my brother as- 
missionary to Mangaia. 

The taking of Tahiti by the French a few years before 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 155; 

placed our island in constant danger, and caused no small 
alarm to the natives. It was known to be the design of the- 
priests of Eome to avail themselves of the earliest oppor- 
tunity to introduce Popery to these islands. 

The following has been preserved as a record in brief of 
the act of the French in taking possession of Tahiti, and as. 
it much affected our mission work in 1845 I give it here : — 

"On the 1st of September, 1842, the French frigate of war, 60 guns,, 
the * Rdm BUmche^^ Admiral A. Dupetit Thouars, arrived at Papeete, 
the principal port of Tahiti. For a few days all appeared quiet on 
board, and professions of peace were extensively circulated by the 
French. On the 5th, messengers were despatched to the Queen, who- 
was staying at Eimeo {daily expecting confinement), and also to the; 
principal chiefs, requesting them to come to Papeete, that the Admiral 
might pay his respects to them ; and, in consequence, all understood 
that his errand was of a friendly character. 

" On the 8th, the principal chiefs arrived and dined on board with 
the Admiral ; and, upon the same day, we had the first intimation 
that a meeting was to be held between the chiefs and the French. 
The same evening the British Vice-Consul and the American Consul 
received an official document from the ship, stating that differencea. 
existed between the Tahitian and the French Governments which would 
probably lead to hostilities, and all British and American subjects- 
were therefore warned to take means for securing their persons and 
property. Early on the following morning, we learned from Mure, the 
chief speaker, that the expected meeting had been anticipated hy a secret one, 
held during the night hetvjeen four principal chiefs and the French. At 
this meeting a document was signed by the four chiefs, of which the- 
following is a literal translation : 

" * To the Admiral A. Dupetit Thouars. — Because we are not able^ 
to govern in our own kingdom in the present circumstances, so as to 
harmonise with foreign Governments : lest our land, our kingdom, and 
our liberty should become that of another, we, whose names are written 
below, viz. : the Queen and principal chiefs of Tahiti, write to you to 
ask that the shadow of the King of the French may be thrown over us>. 
on the following conditions : — 

" * 1st. That the title and the government of the Queen, and the 
authority also of the principal chiefs, remain in themselves, over their- 

" * 2nd. That all laws and observances be estabhshed in the name, 
of the Queen, and have her signature attached to them, to render them 
binding upon her subjects. 

" * 3rd. That the lands of the Queen and all her people shall remain 
in their own hands, and all discussions about lands shall be among; 
themselves : foreigners shall not interfere. 

ii 5 6 Selections from 

" * 4th. That every man shall follow that religion which accords 
with his own desire : no one shall influence him in his thoughts towards 

" * 5th. That the places of worship belonging to the English mis- 
.sionaries, which are now known, shall remain unmolested ; and the 
British missionaries shall continue to perform the duties of their 

'^ ^ 6th. Persons of all other persuasions shall be entitled to equal 

'^ ' On these conditions, if agreeable, the Queen and chiefis solicit 
the protection of the King of the French. The affairs concerning foreign 
•Governments, and also concerning foreign residents on Tahiti, are to be 
left with the French Government, and with the officers appointed by 
that Gk)vemment, such as port regulations, &c., &c. ; and with them shall 
rest all those functions which are calculated to produce harmony and 

" Baiata, Speaker to the Qtieeti. 
**Utami, \ 

" HiTOTi, > Principal Chiefs, 
. " Tati, ) 

" The 9th was a day of painful suspense. The Queen's consent was 
not yet obtained. The Admiral demanded her signature, or 10,000 
dollars for injuries alleged : if neither signature nor money was yielded 
in twenty-four hours, he declared his intention of planting the French 
flag and firing his guns ; thus formally taking the island and malriTig 
his own conditions. All saw that the islands were virtually taken, and 
of two evils it was thought best to choose the least The Queen signed 
Just one hour before {he firing was to commence. Proclamations were 
issued, of which one clause states, * That any person who shall, either in 
word or deed, prejudice the Tahitian people agauist the French Govern- 
ment, shall be banished.' A supreme Council of three Frenchmen was 
.appointed. Beyond them there was no appeal but to the King of the 
French. Universal liberty was proclaimed to Protestant ministers, 
priests, or any others who choose to teach. Feasts were given, and 
plays were acted. The priests have buUt a large brick house and 
'erected a cathedral. 

" Since the arrival of the intelligence in France, the public journals of 
^hat country have teemed with the most glowing and gratulatory 
^accounts of the annexation of the Society Islands, including Tahiti, to 
the French crown. In these papers it is stated that the act of cession, 
on the part of the Queen and chiefs of Tahiti, was purely spontaneous 
.and unsought, and that the naval commander, Dupetit Tliouars, in 
taking possession of the islands, only complied with their earnest solici- 
itations to be admitted to the enjoyment of French protection. A few 
words will be sufficient to expose the gross and absurd misrepresenta- 
tions involved in these statements. 

The ReiK W. GtlVs Autobiography. 157 

'^ The noctomal meeting, at which this compulsoiy and deceitful treat]^ 
Tras made, was held without the knowledge of the Queen, and was- 
utterly at variance with her supreme right and authority : accordingly 
she manifested the utmost reluctance, and refused to sign. 

*' It will be seen that the French commander attempted to cover hi^. 
treacherous and arbitrary conduct in yielding to the request of the 
chiefs that the island should be placed under French protection, ^ because 
they were not able to govern in their own kingdom in the present, 
circumstances, so as to harmonise with foreign Qovemments,' and Uest 
their land, their kingdom, and their liberty should become that of 
another.' But this language is at variance with the whole case. The: 
chiefs would not have visited the French commander unless he had 
commanded their attendance, and no danger to their liberties and 
government ever arose, or was even apprehended, from any power but the; 
arms of France. The fact, also, that these proceedings were conducted 
clandestinely, at midnight, without the knowledge of the sovereign,, 
and by foreigners with whose language the natives were entirely 
unacquainted, must produce the conviction that the conduct of the* 
Tahitian chiefs was the result of terror and constraint, or of motives^ 
excited by secret and unworthy means. 

^ It might be inferred from the articles of the agreement that it was. 
honourably intended to secure the civil and religious rights both of the: 
natives and foreigners ; but these, especially as it respects the latter,, 
are neutralised by the last clause — * The affairs concerning foreign 
Grovemments, and also concerning foreign residents on Tahiti, are to be*. 
left with the French Government, and with the officers appointed by 
that Government.' " 

The inhabitants of Barotonga became much discouraged at 
these reports, and the war between the English and natives, 
of New Zealand. Every captain and ship's crew who visited 
the island was strictly and separately questioned, and on 
reports thus gained the people formed their own opinions^ 
Sometimes, prejudicially to their own interests, they were^ 
evidently suspicious lest the establishment of Christianity on 
their island should ultimately lead to such disasters as thosei 
of which they now heard in other islands. Hence the: 
authorities convened a meeting, and resolved not to sell any 
land to foreigners, neither to allow them to marry native, 
females, concluding, from what they had heard, that theses 
were the begetting causes of the evils which they dreaded. 

At this period we were much distressed at the great mor- 

158 Selections from 

tality among our people. January, 1845, we commenced with 
ont thousand orphans on the island of Barotonga. Most of 
their friends died in Christian faith and hope, and this 
.gave us joy in the midst of our sorrow; but our anxiety for 
the provision of the poor children was great. 

The following is a record of the end of a Christian woman, 
•one of many who died in iChristian faith : — 

A rapid decline marked her with unerring precision as an 
•early victim for the tomb. She entertained no delusive 
hopes, from a consideration of her youth, or the flattering 
•compliments of her numerous friends, but evinced a calm 
preparation for death, of the certain approach of which she 
had an abiding conviction. 

From my first entrance upon the Mission she was noticed 
to be of a thoughtful mind. She was early received as one 
•of a select number who attended, with our domestics, a 
-catechetical exercise on the Sabbath evening. Her attend- 
ance was not in vain: like Lydia, her heart was opened 
^adually to the instructions of her teacher. As an anxious 
inquirer, she was directed to Jesus, whom she eagerly and 
-cordially embraced as her Lord and her God. She continued 
to attend upon all the means of grace, until confined, by 
increasing debility, to her lowly mat, where I found her on 
the occasion of my first visit. 

Frequently have I seen her, on my way to the chapel, 
seated against the trunk of some overshadowing tree, utterly 
-exhausted from her earnest attempts to reach the house of 
God. I kindly advised her, in her extreme debility, to desist 
from attendance, assuring her that it was not required by 
Him who loveth mercy better than sacrifice ; but I satisfied 
myself by close inquiry that it was from an enlightened 
;attachment to Divine ordinances, and not from any super- 
stitious feeling, she thus acted. In like manner she cherished 
a warm attachment for her fellow-members. " Tell them," 
she said to me at one time, " to come and see me. Tell them 
I do not wish for their property," alluding to a native custom 
of making presents when visitiug the sick ; " a word, a prayer, 
^n exhortation, I will value more than all the property they 
could bring me." Her diligent attention to the means of 

The Rev. W, GilVs Autobiography. 159 

instruction was correspondingly blest by the Divine Spirit in 
-tlie maturity to which she attained in Christian knowledge 
and experience. Comparatively a child in years, she made 
rapid advance in the Divine life ; and, as death approached, 
she evidently ripened for an abundant entrance into heaven. 

On entering her cottage one morning, when her end was 
neaj, I found her supported by one of her family, as she was 
"too feeble to sit erect by her own strengtL I said, " Well, 
Maxtha, I am glad to see you once more ; how is the state of 
your mind this morning? what turn have your thoughts taken 
since my last call ? " " There is only one direction," she 
answered, " in which my thoughts now go, and that is to 
Jesus ! I have visited the Cross — there I have been able to 
leave my burdens. Oh ! how sweet are those words : ' He 
l)ore our sins, and carried our sorrows.' I have indeed been a 
Martha, cumbered about many things which I ought long ago 
to have left to the disposal of my heavenly Lord. I have 
been waiting for His coming, but I was not ready — I lacked 
one thing ; my canoe was safe, but I had not made fast my 
anchor ; I was in a current, still safe. Jesus was my anchor; 
Jesus is my refuge ; Jesus is my all ! My course is finished; 
I fim now ready." 

The destitution of so many orphans led us to apply to 
friends in England for help, especially in clothing. This 
appeal was made, and commended to the consideration of 
friends by the Directors, who wrote : " We would invite the 
attention of our friends to the appeal of Mr. Gill on behalf 
of liis schools, in the hope that it will receive from many 
prompt and generous consideration." 

" This month closes our seventh anniversary at Rarotonga. In 
reviewing the past, we feel we have abundant cause to take courage and 
go forward. We owe a large debt of gratitude to our dear friends 
for all the sympathy and acts of kindness shown towards us ; but, above 
all, are we encouraged in our work by the measure of success which has 
followed the labours of our hands. The church of Arorangi has increased 
two-thirds during our residence among them, and others are continually 
coming to ask what they must do to be saved. While we have had 
to mourn over some who have made shipwreck of faith, we have to 
rejoice over many more who continue to walk according to the Gospel 
of Christ. This evening, at our church-meeting, we are to admit 
fourteen members to communion, most of whom have been making a 

i6o Selections from 

consistent profession for the past two years. Seven adults are also to Le 
baptized to-morrow. 

" Our land is full of young people. The fathers have been prematurely 
swept away during our years of affliction. We have hope, however, 
that the arm of the Lord has been revealed to ns for good. Last year 
our deaths only exceeded by two our births, and property collected for 
the relief of the wk has been given as presents to native teachers among 
the heathen. 

'^ The present state of society demands diligent, active, and constant 
effort for future good ; but in the discharge of our duties, we- 
meet trials of no ordinary character. We have encouragement in 
many ; but there are others who are constantly giving trouble. We 
must have schools, and be assisted by friends at home with school 
materials.' The liberality of friends also towards our numerous orphans^ 
we appreciate much, and it will turn in most cases to good account as. 
soon as the Scriptures are put through the press. It must be devoted 
to the printing of books for the use of our juvenile population. " 

Having received a liberal supply of garments and stuff to 
be made up, the children wrote the following letter of 
thanks : — ^ 

" Brethren and Sisters in England, — Great is the joy of our 
hearts, the destitute and fatherless, because of your compas- 
sion to us. It is this by which we know your love to us. 
You formerly prayed for us, and your prayers were effectual 
God heard them, and His Word grew quickly on Rarotonga ; 
and now you have given clothing to the fatherless. We shall 
now think continually of God*s love, and we will also pray to 
Him for you, that His love may grow abundantly with you in 
your land." 

The Jubilee of the London Missionary Society. 

It was now fifty years since the London Missionary 
Society commenced its missionary work among the South 
Sea Islands. We thought it therefore a suitable oppor- 
tunity to call the special attention of the natives of this, 
group to the history and progress of Christianity in the 
islands that had received it. So we arranged to hold a 
jubilee service. An aggregate meeting was held at Avarua. 
As the people could not be accommodated in the chapel, the 
service was held under the shade of large Tamanu trees near. 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography, i6i 

The arrival of the missionary ship at this time added to the 
interest of the gathering. Captain Morgan came on shore 
and gave an account of his recent voyage to the westward 
islands and the landing of native teachers on some of them. 
We also gave details of the work in the nine islands in the 
Tahitian group. Some of the old ' men spoke gratefully of 
the introduction of the Gospel to Earotonga, telling us what 
they were in heathenism, and of the blessedness they now 
had in the Gospel era. This grateful people manifested their 
joy in a practical manner on this occasion. They contributed 
as subscriptions to the London Missionary Society : — 

Arrowroot — 

Yearly contribution 1,602 lbs. 

Extra for Jubilee 989 „ 

2,591 lbs. 

Money — 

Yearly contribution $25.37c. 

Extra for Jubilee $10.50c. 


One old man said that in heathenism sacred men had been 
raised up who reproved the abounding iniquity of the times, 
and who exhorted their fellow-countrymen to live orderly, 
honestly, and peaceably; they taught the people to pray to the 
gods, and to expect a time to come when good should prevail 
over evil, and happiness abound over misery. Among the 
sayings of these sages I was much struck with one, often 
referred to as having been now fulfilled. It is as follows : — -, 

'' Takatakai marie, e, 
E aku au potiki e ! 
Aua e oro pu i te kino, e, 
E, i te tamaki, e mate ei e ! 
Takatakai marie, e, 
£ aku au potiki e ! 
Te vai ra tetai inapotea e ! 
Kia ora, e aku potoki e ! 
Kare teia e mou." 

A heathen prophet is here exhorting the young men growing 


1 62 The Rev, W, GilVs Autobiography, 

up around him not to ruin themselves by acts of vice and 
war. It may be translated thus : — 

" sons beloved ! 
Tread gently in your course. 
Run not rashly to do evil, 
Or into deadly war. 
O sons beloved ! 
Tread gently in your course. 
For seasons bright, 
Of shining light, 
As fuU-moon night, 
Are yet in store. 
And may you live, 
My sons beloved. 
Forgetting days of yore." 

The first time I heard these lines this old native, who for 
many years had been a consistent member of the church, 
said : " Thus did my father, when I was young, exhort me, 
and blessed, indeed, are my eyes, for now I see these ' seasons 
bright, of shining light,' of which he spake. Jesus is OvaX 
light, and we rejoice in Him." 

1 6 




My brother George had now been on Earotonga six months, 
which he felt to be of great advantage in acquiring a know- 
ledge of native character, in learning the language, and in 
making various preparations for his residence on Mangaia. 
The arrival of our missionary ship gave an opportunity for 
his voyaging to his appointed island, and it was arranged 
that E. and I should accompany him and our sister, and 
introduce them to the M^,ngaians, and remain with them 
two or three months till some passing ship gave us oppor- 
tunity of returning to Earotonga. We availed ourselves of 
this visit again to call at most of the islands of the group to 
see the teachers and people. 

We j&rst made the island of Atiu. We went on shore, 
and remained three days in assemblies with the people, the 
church, and the schools, and were much pleased with the 
progress made. Leaving Atiu, we sailed for Mauk6. It was 
a lovely South Sea morning, and, it being Sunday, we were 
desirous to get on shore to hold services with the people. 
But Mauk^ being a reef-bound island, we could not land 
without the aid of canoes. But no canoe came off; not a 
native was to be seen. This much surprised us, as we were 
sure the ship was seen by the people, though the settlement 
was a mile inland. After waiting some time in more than 
anxious suspense we fired one of the ship's guns, but this did 
not bring any of the people to the beach. We fired again, and, 
to our great relief, we now saw a small canoe bounding over 
the surf, having on board one native. In order to meet it we 
lowered one of the ship's boats, but no sooner did the native 
see this than he turned his canoe towards shore, and paddled 
away from us with all his might. 


1 64 Selections from 

Somewhat annoyed and confounded at this unusual treat- 
ment, the crew of our boat rowed in pursuit, and overtook 
the runaway near the reef. On seeing a Rarotongan in our 
boat, he was evidently relieved, and conducted us to the beach. 
By this time a great number of the people had assembled, 
and, on inquiring the cause of their mysterious conduct 
during the morning, they said that when the ship was first 
seen they were holding their early morning prayer-meeting ; 
and, it being a new vessel, they did not know it was the mis- 
sion ship. While wondering what ship it could be, the report 
of the gun was heard ; this, they said, made (heir hearts like 
fipilt water; having heard of the doings of the French in 
Tahiti, they concluded it was a French ship of war, come to 
add their island home to the possessions of its nation. 
" Alas ! " they exclaimed, " what shall we do ? " " Do not let 
any one be in haste to go off to it ; " and then they resolved 
to protract their prayer-meeting, in order to call upon God to 
deliver them from evil, and to be their refuge in this day of 
their supposed distress. At the close of this meeting the 
second firing was heard, and they thought it wise to send 
their bravest man to see who we were, and what we wanted ; 
this was the man who, coming near to us, had turned away 
in fright. 

Their fears were now passed, and we hastened to the 
village, where we held an afternoon service; and never, I 
suppose, was there a quicker or more perfect transition from 
dreadful apprehension to peaceful quietude, from deepest 
sorrow to highest joy, than that experienced by this people 
that day. The whole population came together in the chapel : 
hymns were sung, the Scriptures were read, prayer offered, 
and a sermon preached, after which we united with the 
church in commemorating the Lord's Supper. The whole 
service was one of interest and delight ; and the truths of 
the Gospel, received through these ordinances, were as water 
to thirsty ground. In the evening a prayer-meeting was 
held in the teacher's house, and many of the people remained 
until midnight, reviewing their past history, listening to re- 
ports about the churches in England, and asking questions 
about heathen islands yet to be visited. After meeting tlie 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography, 165 

deacons of the church, and making arrangements for the 
classes and the schools, I located among them Itio, a pious, 
intelligent native missionary from Earotonga, and again left 
this interesting station. 

These small islands of the Hervey Group will never have a 
resident European missionary, neither is it necessary, for the 
teachers are, in character and labour, all that is required for 
such stations ; and it is a matter of thankfulness that we have 
such raised up for the work. 

The year following, the people of Mauk^ were visited by 

natives from Atiu and Mitiaro. Speaking of the occasion, 

Itio, the teacher, says, " We have had a joyous gathering this 

year : our brethren and the teachers of the other islands came 

to visit us, and our people have not had such a meeting here 

since the Word of God came to these lands. The old men 

told us of the days when Satan reigned over them, when they 

were enemies, and rejoiced in the evils of heathenism ; and 

the young people rejoiced in the dispensation of Gospel love 

into which they had come. Truly it is as is written in the 

Word of God : ' Old things are passed away, and, behold, all 

things are become new ! ' " 

There are on Mauk^ fifty members in church communion, 
and nearly as many others who are in the Bible-classes. Let 
the reader realise these island scenes of intelligence, civilisa- 
tion, and Christianity in contrast with the ignorance, anarchy, 
and heathenism that prevailed thirty years before, and the 
warmest sympathies of his heart will be more than ever 
enhsted in the cause of Christian missions ; by fervent prayer 
and enlarged liberality he will give his influence to extend 
the blessings they communicate TO every tribe of the 


Leaving Mauk6, we sailed for Mangaia. It was a lovely 
day when we came in sight of the island, and the sea so calm 
that the waves broke with more than ordinary gentleness on 
the reef. We embarked in the ship's boat, and on approaching 
the land we heard the shouts of the joyous people, echoed from 
the coral rocks, " Ko te Pai Oromedua teia ! Ko nga tavini o 
te Atua teia ! Kua tae mai ! Kua tae mai ia ! ! " (It is the 

1 66 Selections from 

miflsioiiaiy ship ! Here are the seryants of Grod ! They are 
come ! They are truly come ! !) Rowing the boat near to the 
reef, it was seized by a number of natives, who bore it, with 
US in it, to the teacher^s house. At a meeting held about two 
weeks after our landing, for the purpose of giving pubhc wel- 
come to their missionary, the following characteristic speech 
was delivered by one of t)ie natives. Addressing the people, 
he said : '^ Brethren, GKxl is truly a hearer and answerer of 
prayer. We have prayed to see what we see this day. God 
has heard us, and here is our missionary in our midst. He is 
going to live with us. But, brethren, do not let us leave off 
praying. Let us ask Grod to assist him in learning our 
language. This is the first thing, and then to assist him to do 
his work, and then let us be prepared to receive instruction. 
Pray also for his wife, and for their child, now so young ; and 
ask that he may live and become a missionary to our children. 
We all rejoice that our teacher has come. Now, this is my 
thought ! let us see to it that not one lock of his hair be 
ruffled — I do not mean by the winds of heaven, but that his 
heart be not grieved by our evil conduct. Let us go to his 
house frequently, and inquire of him about things of which 
we are ignorant, and about the Word of God. Eemember he 
is neither an angel nor a spirit, that you should not go near 
him. He is come to live with us as our brother, companion, 
and friend. If you see his face and hear his voice on the 
Sabbath only you will not receive much good. You must 
have intercourse with him daily, and he with you. Let us 
praise God for His love to us ! May we remember what I 
have said ! And may the Holy Spirit prosper our missionary 
in our midst ! " 

With a view of giving an idea of what missionary work is 
at such a station, I will here copy a few notes from my 
journal for the month. 

" August 2. Morning — I met the parents of a number of 
children who were to be baptized on the morrow. N"oon — 
With the deacons of the church for conversation and arrange- 
ment of matters about the church and settlement. Evening 
— At the church-meeting. 

" August 3. Lord*s-day. Morning — I preached in Oneroa 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 167 

chapel, two thousand persons present. Text, Dan. xxxii. 25 : 
' Shoes of iron and of brass,' or Divine grace appropriate and 
sufficient to daily labour and trial. Afternoon — PubKc ad- 
ministration of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper to more 
than three hundred church members, in the midst of the 
great congregation. Evening — United prayer-meeting with 
native preachers and their families in the class-room of our 

" August 4. Morning — ^At adults* early school. Forenoon 
— At the children's school. Held a meeting with some of the 
principal people of the station, who are desirous to build a 
stone chapel. Noon — Assisted in making some alteration 
in mission-house — ^my brother having brought from England 
some glass windows. This was the first glass the natives 
here had seen, and it caused no Uttle wonder to them. After- 
noon — ^Visited one or two sick persons. 

" August 5. Morning — Held missionary prayer-meeting in 
the chapel ; read to the people letters just received from two 
of their own countrymen, who are teachers on the distant 
island of Tanna. Forenoon — Met the teachers of the adult 
classes. Evening — Had Bible-class with young men. 

•' August 6. Forenoon — At the children's school. After- 
noon — ^A public service. I preached, John iii. 8 : The in- 
fluences of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Evening — Held 
a meeting with the visitors of the Christian Instruction 
Society. Increased their number for that village from twelve 
to twenty. 

" August 7. This morning attended the monthly prayer- 
meeting of the teachers of Oneroa schools : forty-eight male 
teachers and fifty-one female teachers present. Noon — 
Assisted natives in mission-house work, and preparing books 
for inland stations. Evening — Church members' Bible-class. 

August 8. Attended the teachers' class this forenoon. At 
noon a schooner arrived off the island from Tahiti — brought 
information of the surrender of the Queen, which occasioned 
much remark and sadness among the people. Afternoon — 
Went to the village of Tamarua, and held public service in 
the chapel there. 

" August 9. Morning — Visited the sick ; met candidates 

1 68 Selections from 

for baptism, and had private conversation with the deacons of 
the village. Native teachers' labours had been blessed to the 
people, schools were well attended, and upwards of fifty can- 
didates for church communion. 

"August 10. Lord*s-day — I preached in Tamarua chapel. 
More than seven hundred persons present. Text, Phil, 
ii. 12 : Fear and trembling connected with securing salvation. 
Afternoon — Public service; text, Psa. K. 11: 'Take not 
Thy Holy Spirit from me.' Evening — ^Attended a prayer- 
meeting in the native teacher's house. 

"August 11. Early morning adult school; three hundred 
present; Noon — Dined with the chief of the village. After- 
noon — Met the deacons; made arrangements to locate a 
teacher here, whom we had brought from Rarotonga Insti- 
tution. Evening — ^Visited two of the caverns. 

" August 12. Forenoon — ^At children's school, after which 
selected a singing-class of young people ; all delighted with 
my brother George's ability to teach singing ; much room for 
improvement in them, but they are diligent and willing 
learners. Afternoon — At church members' candidate class. 
Evening — Church prayer-meeting. Night — Met several young 
men, who wish to go to Earotonga Institution. 

"August 13. Morning — ^A preaching service; text, Deut. 
vi. 12 : Necessary caution while in the possession of privi- 
leges. Forenoon — Took leave of the people of Tamarua, and 
journeyed to the village of Ivinia. People gave us a hearty 
welcome. Evening — Preached from Ps. Ixxxix. 15: The 
blessedness of hearing, and attending to, the joyful sound. 

" August 14. Forenoon — Distributed books to the people. 
Afternoon — ^Visited some of the heathen party. 

"August 15. Morning — Instructed the teachers of the 
children's schools. Noon — ^A native teacher came with his 
proposed bride to make arrangements for their marriage. 
Evening — Conversed with a member who had been suspended 
from the church for disorderly conduct. 

"August 16. Forenoon — ^Met the deacons of the church at 
Ivirua; added an excellent and tried young man to their 
number. Evening — Meeting of the church ; six candidates 

The Rev, TV. GilVs Autobiography. i6g 

"August 17. Lord's-day — PubKc services were well 
attended; sermons from Job xlii. 5, 6: Knowledge of God 
necessary to true repentance; and from Isa. v. 20: De- 
lusions and punishment of sinners. Brother George made 
his first attempt to speak publicly in the native language, by 
reading the Scriptures and offering prayer. 

"August 18. Attended children's school, and took our 
return journey to Oneroa. 

"August 19. Forenoon — Had private conversation with 
Maretu about texts which he had selected for sermons. 
Noon — A little girl, having fallen from a precipice, was 
brought with fractured Hmbs to be dressed. Afternoon — 
Church prayer-meeting. Evening — ^Young men's Bible-class. 
At night a little boy was brought, whose stomach, while he 
was asleep, had been dreadfully mutilated by a savage pig ; 
it was dressed, but the poor fellow died. 

August 20. Drawing plans for proposed new stone chapel. 
Afternoon — Married Tangiia, the native teacher, to Miriama. 
Evening — Preached from text. Gen. xxviii. : Jacob's journey, 
trust, and vow. 

" August 21. After attending to children's school, was with 
natives marking out the foundation of new chapel, ninety feet 
long by sixty-two feet wide, which was partly dug out in the 
afternoon. Evening — Church members' Bible-class. 

" August 22. Teachers' classes in arithmetic and geography. 
Noon — Conversation with candidates. Afternoon — With 
carpenters, who have commenced window and door frames for 
new chapel. Evening — ^Public service. Night — Conversation 
with one of the native teachers. 

" August 23. Preparation for Sabbath services. 

"August 24. Lord's-day — Large chapel full; subjects of 
discourse : ' Zeal for God's house,' Neh. ii. 20 ; and Zech. iii. 
2 : ' A brand plucked from the fire.' Evening — Household 

August 27. Public service on the site of the new chapel ; 
upwards of two thousand persons present. Brother George 
gave out a hymn; I read a portion of Scripture; Maretu 
engaged in prayer, after which I gave an address. The 
foundation-stone, in which were placed native books, and 

1 70 Selections from 

writings respecting the circumstance and date of the building, 
was then laid by Numangatini, the chief of the island." 

Mangaia had been frequently visited by foreigners, some 
of whom had taken up a temporary abode there; none, 
however, had permanently resided on the island, except one 
Frenchman and an American; these had married, and had 
conducted themselves with propriety. Two or three others 
had also married, but after a time they had left their wives 
and families, which had occasioned no little trouble to the 
people. Hence the authorities, as at Rarotonga, made a law 
to prohibit marriage of native females to foreigners, and also 
the sale of land. 

Some little time before I reached the island — 1845 — ^two 
Frenchmen, and an American who gave himself out to be a 
Mormon, came from Tahiti. They brought a letter, pur- 
porting to be from the French Consul, to the chief, of which 
the following is a copy : — 

« Papeete, April 22iid, 1845. 
" To the chief, and those in power at Mangaia, — Blessings on you f 
Certain Frenchmen are now going to your land, and the Governor 
desires that you should treat them kindly, and with justice, like other 
foreigners. No evil will be to your land. But if you ill-treat these said 
foreigners, or any other Frenchmen who may hereafter come to you, evil 
consequences will be to you. Blessing on you ! " 

On their arrival, the strangers delivered the above letter 
to the chief of the island, and they were treated with courtesy ; 
but, on being assured that the people intended to abide by 
their law, not to marry their females to foreigners, nor to sell 
any land, they left the island in the same vessel which 
brought them. 

The general statistics of the island in the year 1845 were : 
adult males, 655 ; adult females, 676. Young persons and 
children of parents then living, 1,789. Young persons and 
children whose parents were dead, 447 — making a total of 
3,567 population, of whom 1,429 were females and 2,138 
were males. Five hundred persons were in church com- 
munion, besides whom there were six hundred in adult classes 
receiving instruction. For the year ending December, 1845, 

The Rev. W. GilPs Autobiography. 171 

there were on the island 101 deaths, 156 births, 99 
baptisms, and 50 marriages. 

Just before leaving the island I attended a public service 
at Tamarua, where one of the elders gave an address, in 
which he unburdened his grateful heart in language so appro- 
priate that a few sentences of it cannot fail to interest my 
Christian friends. " Brethren," he said, " I am an old man, 
but to-day I feel young again with joy ; the darkness and 
distress of our heathen life are passed away — that season was 
indeed a dreary winter season, but it is past — ^we now have 
light, and joy, and peace ; and I have been thinking of one of 
our prettiest heathen songs, which exhorted the people to be 
glad on the approach of spring ; it is as follows : — 

" * The sky is bright, and the storms are o'er, 
The bud and the fruit reward the sower ; 
The birds are singing, and the trees rejoice, 
The winter is past ; exalt your voice ! * 

" This," continued the speaker, " was never properly fulfilled 
in heathenism, but it has now come to pass. This is a season 
of sunshine. Our storms are now blown leeward. The mes- 
sengers of God now sing in the land. We have begun to eat 
the fruit of summer, and a rich harvest of knowledge and love 
yet awaits us. Let us rejoice ! " In concluding his remarks, 
he said, " But, my friends, in the midst of this joy I have a 
little trouble; we have not yet reached the heights to which 
we aspire, but we are still climbing upwards. Oh, let us not 
resemble those who, climbing up the hills, hold by the tufts 
of grass, and suddenly fall backwards. I mean, let us not 
merely hold on to the outward forms and bodily doings of 
Christianity, but let us hold to Christ Himself, and we shall 
be safe." 

The following are letters written during our stay on 
Mangaia, and, as they recount incidents not mentioned else- 
where, they may be of interest : — 

« Sept&mber 14, 1845. 
"My dear Father, — ^At the conclusion of the Sabbath-day's 
services I find myself all alone at this our inland station. The different 
families who live here have just dispersed after holding a united prayer- 
meeting, and, not knowing the day when the 'John Williams' may 

172 Selections from 

arrive on her way to Sydney, I embrace the hour that remains before 
rest to hold a little converse with you. I scarcely know how it has 
been, but lately I have had so much writing to do that I have been 
obliged to leave a letter to you for the last hurried moments before a 
vessel's leaving and then fill it with matters of business. But I am 
desirous that this sheet should narrate the good work in which we are so 
delightfully engaged. Through the goodness of God we landed here about 
two months ago, and have had the pleasure of settling Qeorge and his wife 
among a people prepared of the Lord to receive them with all gladness. 
From the first we have felt much attached to these people, and that 
attachment has increased as we have known more of them. It has been 
our pleasure to witness a steady improvement in them for the i)ast five 
years, and we now rejoice in being permitted to give them over to the 
superintendence of a beloved brother and sister. May they soon 
acquire the language and so delight in the work as to feel a growing 
interest in the welfare, present and future, of the people. Without this 
there can be no hope of permanent usefulness. Novelty soon dies away. 
In their case I feel confident that the more they mingle with the 
people, the more they will feel interested in them ; and, if they have our 
experience, will never wish to leave them ; it is a fine field of labour. 
For comfort's sake, it would be pleasanter to have a companion in 
labour here, but the interests of the mission do not require it, and the 
present state of other fields will not allow it. George will reside at the 
principal station, and will have two excellent and devoted native teachers 
for the inland settlement, and by visitation, and general superintend- 
ence, will be able to conduct all well. About four weeks ago we all 
visited the stations, and were much rejoiced to find them prospering 
even beyond our expectations. This is my second visit. We like going 
about among the people. On Friday last we had a most interesting 
meeting with the deacons and native teachers of the several stations— 
a kind of * Congregational Union.' It is a quarterly meeting estab- 
lished when we were here two years ago, and has proved the means of 
much good. The number at our meeting on Friday was as follows : — 
Six deacons from the church at Oneroa, four from Ivirua, and three 
from Tamarua ; the three native teachers of the different settlements, 
Davida, the first teacher, landed here by Tyerman and Bennett, who 
introduced the Gospel among the people ; Tairi the * youthful convert,' 
noticed some time ago in the * Gh/ronicley who was left here by us, on 
our last visit, in charge of the school ; and a deacon of the church 
at Arorangi who has come with us this time. These, with George and 
myself, composed the assembly. After singing, prayer, and an address, 
the senior deacon of each station gave a report of the most important 
occurrences during the past three months. One from Oneroa said that, 
soon after the last meeting, they received letters from * Miti Gilo,' 
Earotonga, stating that * Gili,' his * teina,' had come as missionary for 
Mangaia. At these tidings they were greatly rejoiced, and, as they were 

The Rev. IV. GilVs Autobiography. 173 

told he had been supplied by the church in England with goods for 
the erection of a new chapel, they determined to follow the example of 
Harotonga, and have a stone house of prayer. They immediately began 
the work, and are now happy to find that they have enough time to 
finish the chapel and build the teacher^ house too. He stated that the 
walls were raised all round, and in some parts finished. He said it was 
a work of much pleasure, and exhorted them to do likewise. During 
the last three months two members had been excommunicated for 
immorality, and twelve were admitted last month. At present there 
were six in the candidates' class, and a goodly number of inquirers. 

" The deacon firom Tamarua said that, as we, the missionaries, were 
present, he would state for our encouragement that our work in the 
Lord during the past visit had not been in vain. Tamarua had 
been a troublesome station, but now love was reigning in their midst, 
and where love was there must be peace. Our brother deacon. Rota, 
whom * Miti Gilo ' left at Tamarua two years ago, was a good man, and 
the word he' had preached had been like a strong hurricane, which levels 
to the ground all that opposes it. He said, the heart of the church 
was sore every day with weeping after Rota, who has been removed to 
Rarotonga, and succeeded by a teacher from the Institution. But the 
sign of Rota's labours could not be removed. There was a class of 
candidates, ten in number, to be admitted on Sabbath next, and the 
nuuiber of inquirers was sixty. He further stated that since the resi- 
dence of Tangiia, the new teacher, there had been a great revival in the 
schools ; that the adults' morning school was well attended every day 
at sunrise, and that the number and attention of the children had much 
improved ; that many who had been formerly very wild were joining 
the school classes for instruction, and it was hoped that the good Word 
of God was growing in their midst ; they had doubtless heard that 
the devil had succeeded in troubling them ; that was nothing new. One 
of their number, a deacon of long standing, had fallen, and, together 
with an inquirer, had made shipwreck of faith. 

" The deacon from Ivirua said his heart was much rejoiced that we 
were all assembled at their station to-day, and hoped that such meetings 
would continue as long as the church should continue at Mangaia. He 
had to report that since the last meeting three members had died. 
About six weeks ago ten were admitted to communion, and there were 
ten others in the class of candidates who received weekly iostruction in 
the Bible-class from the teacher. Those who had been admitted had been 
well tried, being among the number of those who began to seek God 
two years ago, when * Miti Gilo ' was here from Rarotonga. There were 
still two or three influential men in the settlement who were disaffected, 
one of whom had lately been punished for ill-treating his wife. This 
course of justice had wounded his pride, and he had left the settlement 
and was trying to annoy it in various ways. Many of the teacher's 
articles had been stolen by members of his party. This made them 

1 7 4 Selections from 

very sorrowful, because he was a brother from another land, and 
had come there to do them good. The teacher was a man of much 
patience, and told them not to make much ado about it. He thought it 
a good thing to advise the wild ' Tutaeauris ' and young men at the 
heathen stations, who are visited every week by members of the church, 
to get married, for they had had many instances lately of young men who 
had been the pest of the place formerly, but on getting married came to 
the chapel, and were now living steadily. 

^'Katuke, native teacher at Ivirua, confirmed the statements made by 
the deacons. Towards the close of his < little speech ' he said, ' When 
I came here last year I thought I should be very lonely, for there are 
but few people (500), and those scattered, but I have found it quite the 
reverse. I rejoice in my work every day, and wonder at the love of 
God who has made me His workman.' Pointing to a pretty new lime 
house just built by the people for him, he said, ^ That house which has 
lately been finished gives me much pleasure, not only because it is so 
comfortable, and adapted to my work, but because I see in it the desire 
of the people towards me, and their willingness to receive instruction.' 

'' Tangiia, the teacher just stationed at Tamarua, said, ' My brethren, 
this is the first time we have met together ; a little time ago we had not 
met, but now we meet fellow-labourers in the Church of Jesus our Lord. 
I felt very strangely on leaving my own land ; I did not know 
where I should be left ; I gave myself into the care of the missionaries, 
and placed the confidence of my heart in God. A little time after we 
landed I was stationed at Tamarua ; it is but a short time since, and 
I am not well acquainted yet with all the people ; but I already feel 
that I am among brethren. I have commenced my work with much 
joy and hope ; much good will be the result ; this is my little word of 
exhortation. Let us help one another by our prayers and counsels.' 

'^ Ngatokoa, a deacon from Arorangi, in the course of his address, 
said, * I am a stranger, and I have been thinking how very different 
we are now from what we were a few years ago ; we were then indeed 
strangers. If we had met then we should have either joined in the 
works of the devil, or have met as enemies. I have lately been to 
see all the churches in the lands near us, and find they are all one ; they 
are all at peace, and these lands, which were once the property of the 
devil, are now become the possession of Jesus our King. I wish to tell 
you that the Church of Jesus has grown very much at Earotonga. The 
Waters of Life run about us in rich abundance, and we are drinking con- 
tinually. There are still many who do evil, but the Word of God is all- 
powerful — ^it is a hammer — ^it has broken in pieces many of our hard, 
strong hearts, and we are striving together that it may still be very 
prosperous. Do not you forget us. Many of our fathers who first em- 
braced the Word of God have died, but God has not left us. He has 
chosen others to do the work they left, and we know the Church of Gk>d 
must grow, until all people be gathered together in Jesus.' 

The Rev, IV. Gill's Autobiography. 175 

" Other interesting addresses were delivered, but I must conclude with 
a few words of Maretu's. He came here when the ^ Camden * arrived 
from England, and now that George has come among the people he is to 
return with us in a few weeks. He is one of the most excellent of the 
earth, and has been of eminent good at this station. The closing 
remarks of his address were as follows : — * I have been thinking very 
much about God's dealings with me, in bringing me to this land ; 
formerly the church at Rarotonga sent me in compassion on a visit, 
just to see the churches here. It was blowing a gale of wind when the 
vessel arrived off Oneroa ; we could not land there. " Wiliamu " said to 
me, '^Maretu, we must land you if possible, it will not do to take 
you on ; there is a great work to be done on shore, and you have only 
six weeks to do it in." The ship then went to the other side of the 
island ; here the surf was very high ; " Wiliamu," however, lowered the 
boat ; as we came near the reef I was much afraid, for the gale was very 
great. I said to " Wiliamu," " Put me back a little while, we shall all 
be lost in this surf." In reply, he said, " Don't fear ; if there is much 
danger we will not land you, but we must not mind a little." We went 
on, and in a little time we were landed in safety, and, I often wonder at 
it, not an article got wet. On arriving at the settlement I foimd some 
false reports had spread abroad about me — ^that I was come as a spy. It was 
then just the daybreak of the Word of God among you. I was treated 
very badly for some time ; the teachers and the people would not look at 
me. I should have been very sad if I had not remembered a word of exhor- 
tation '* Barakoti " (Mr. Buzacott)gave me as I left Rarotonga. He said, 
" Maretu, you are going to Mangaia ; it is likely the people there will treat 
you at first as they did me on my first visit to Atiu — that was very badly ; 
but be patient ; don't soon be angry ; do not express surprise at public 
meetings ; give a word of exhortation as a member of our churches ; and 
what you have seen and learnt of ^ Pitimani ' that teach the people in a 
quiet way." I thought of this advice, and it did me good. After some 
little time I spoke at one of the Friday meetings. I merely gave a 
simple address on a portion of God's Word. That night I shall never 
forget. I came home and was followed by a few people ; they came to 
hear the Word of God explained as I had learnt it at Rarotonga. Soon 
after others came, and others ; at length the house was so full that they 
made me go outside the door, and there the people asked questions on all 
the texts they had heard since the introduction of the Gospel. They did 
not leave before the morning light came upon us. It was then I knew the 
Word of God was power, and light, and love. These things did not soon 
cease ; month after month found the people as earnest as at first for the 
Word of God. What wonders has the Word of God done for us ! How 
has the church grown ! Then, there were only sixty in communion at the 
Lord's Supper ; at Tamarua they were heathens ; here at Ivirua there were 
one or two who had begun to pray to God. We have surely entered the 
noon-day light of the Word of God. Instead of living six weeks among 

1 7 6 Selections from 

you, I have been seven years, and this is my last woid : Do not leare off 
seeking into the Word, the good Word of the Gh)spel of Jesus. Blessing 
on you for ever.' 

"^ Thus you see how God advances the interests of His Kingdom, among 
us. I have been particular in all the details of the meeting, because I 
believe it will interest you and give you a better idea than anything else 
I could write of the state of the people. I di<L intend, when I began, 
to say something about Rarotonga, and our labours there ; but I am 
sure you will excuse me now." 

" My dear Mother, " September 21, 1845. 

" We have just been thinking and talking about you at our supper- 
table on this the anniversary of our wedding-day, and in our prayers we 
have supplicated for you a continuation of those mercies which have so 
timely and so suitably been granted unto you during our separation &om 
each other. Last Sabbath evening I was alone at our inland station, and 
wrote to dear father ; and now, although weary in body by the labours 
of the Sabbath-day's duties, 1 am desirous at least to begin this to 
you. I will, however, first just give you a sketch of the day's engage- 

" This morning, after breakfast, Elizabeth and I went to the children's 
schools. These were assembled in the school-house, not far &om a 
thousand in number, while the adult population were going to the 
chapel. We commenced by singing a beautiful hymn to the good old 
English tune * Whitby '— 

"*Taki aere tatou 
Ki to Siona ngai 
Kia kite tatou ta Jesu 
E akakite mai.' 


" * Let us all go 
To Zion's place 
That we may know 
What Jesus will reveal.' 

A teacher then engaged in prayer, at the close of which a few words of 
exhortation were given, founded on 1 Sam. iii. 10. This service occupied 
about an hour. We then met in the housQ of prayer, each class being 
led by its teacher from the school-house to the door of the chapel, where 
the ^ tiakis ' or superintendents take charge of the children and arrange 
them in their seats ; the whole congregation then united in singing — 

'''Eua rauka tikai ia tatou 
Te ra meitaki nei; 
No tona aroa kia mou 
I omai.ana uei.' 

I then read the 98th Psalm, and also part of the 22nd chapter of the 

The Rev, W. GtlVs Autobiography. 177 

Book of Numbers — tlie history of Balak and Balaam's confederacy 
against Israel After the reading of the Scriptures the whole congr^a- 
tion bowed in prayer. Often do I wish you could witness this inspiring 
scene. It would excite your wonder and your gratitude, and inspire 
a feeling of holy devotedness throughout the whole soul to the service 
of God and the extension of His Kingdom, until all people and kindred 
and tongues shall be blessed, even as these are blessed, with the light of 
the GospeL After prayer we again united in praises, and then meditated 
on the 23rd chapter of Deuteronomy, 5th verse : * The Lord thy God 
turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God 
loved thee.' Our minds had been led to this subject by the present 
trials of the churches in Tahiti, and with a view to inspire our unshaken 
confidence in the Lord who will do all things in the exercise of infinite 
love and wisdom for His people's good and His own glory. At the close 
of the sermon we sang — 

"•Atua mou i te rangi nei, 
lehova mana mou ; 
Kare rava e tu ke 
Te Atua no tatou.' 

Thus ended the morning service. At half-past two E. and I went to 
the children's school, where the children and teachers were assembled, as 
is their custom every Sabbath afternoon, for examination on the morning 
subject. This exercise occupies about an hour. We then assembled 
again in the chapel as in the forenoon. George commenced the service 
by giving out a hymn. The sermon again devolved on me. Our text 
was Luke x. 42. At 6 p.m. this evening we held our united family 
prayer-meeting in a large room at home. George presided. This 
practice is observed every Lord's-day evening by all the inhabitemts on 
the island. Two or three families who live near together meet at the 
same hour for the purpose of prayer and talking over the subjects of the 
sermons. These services are over at 8 o'clock, when the native police 
strike the wooden ' pateis ' or gongs, and all persons seen out after this 
are taken up and fined, except they can give a good account of them- 
selves. The public engagements at the two inland stations have been 
very simi l ar to those at this station. A teacher has preached twice at 
each settlement and attended to the schools. Besides these services three 
members of the church, who belong to a visiting society founded when 
we were here before, have been one to each of these districts where there 
are yet a few old obstinate men and their enslaved wives and families 
who continue to refuse to attend the ordinances of the Gospel at the 
settlement. These have been the engagements of the day, and will give 
a view of our Sabbath duties. I am sure you will be gratified that we 
have to record the goodness of God which has followed us every year 
since we left you. Our every want has been supplied. Yea, our cup 
has overflowed. Our health has been preserved more than we could 
have expected. We desire to be grateful for past mercies, and especially 


178 The Rev, IV. GtU's Autobiography. 

for those blessings which have attended onr labour. In this we have 
had peace and prosperity. It is our happiness to feel an increased 
attachment to our dailj work ; still we say — 
^/ Be all our life and all our days 
Devoted to His single praise, 
And let our glad obedience prove 
How much we owe, how much we love.* 
We are at present enjoying the society of dear George and Sarah. They 
are also quite happy ; and I hope, as they know more of the language 
and the people, they will be interested in them and be willing to be 
spent for their salvation. Their dear little boy is a fine fellow, and will 
I doubt not be a great comfort to them in their solitary, but inviting 
field of labour. We are now daily expecting the ^JoKn WiUiams* from 
Tahiti when we return to Barotonga. Our friends Mr. and Mrs. 
Buzacott came with us round the islands, and spent two nights on 
shore here, when they returned. We continue to find in them all we 
could wish as friends and fellow-labourers. I rely on your kindness 
towards my brother Henry. I hear it is probable that he will 
go to Hackney and follow us, his brothers, in the preaching of the 
Gospel of Christ. How great is this privilege and honour, and what 
a pleasure it would be to meet him as brother-missionary in this 
group. We are in want of another labourer for the islands of Atiu, 
Mauk^, and Mitiaro, and have sent to the Directors on the subject ; 
but as to Henry's suitability to the station I, of course, can be no judge. 
I doubt not the providence of God will direct him. I hope to write to 
him soon. I feel confident that in Mr. Tidman he will have a wise 
counsellor and kind Mend. I must now conclude, as E. has promised 
to fill up the remainder of this sheet. I am obliged to you for your long 
and kind letter to me. I like to have one of my own. You will not, I 
am sure, forget us this day ; and you with dear father will doubtless 
express many kind and aflfectionate wishes on our behalf. May we in 
mercy experience them in our persons and in our labour. May the God 
of all grace still comfort you in our separation from you, make up by 
His consolation much more than we could supply. If it be His will, 
may we on some future anniversary of this day be permitted to be 
together. This I still hope may be the case, especially if we get another 
missionary vessel. In the meantime let us live and labour as those who 
are looking forward to a more sure, more happy, more lasting meeting 
where we shall cease to measure life by years, where the union and the 
joy will be eternal.'* 

During the last three months of 1845, on our return from 
Mangaia, E. and I spent as much time as possible at 
Arorangi among the people of our station. The schools, 
classes, and general visitation fully engaged our time. The 
work of the mission was prospering and hopeful. 




The year 1846 commenced with our usual New Year's 
Meeting. The whole day was devoted to services in the 
chapel and examination of children in the schools. A rapid 
advance had been made in the social and domestic habits of 
the natives, and it was felt by all that the new era of 
Christianity was fast putting out of practice, and almost out 
of memory, the customs of heathenism. This was a joy and 
reward to the missionary's heart, and excited gratitude and 
praise. Still the future was anticipated with no little concern. 
The greater part of the elders who had received the Gospel 
and inaugurated the new national life were fast dying and 
leaving us the young people, many of whom were intelligent 
and good ; yet many, very many, were only externally affected 
for good, and were yielding to the evil of their own nature, 
and were easy victims to the bad influences of evil-disposed 
foreigners and natives from other islands. Ships were now 
more frequent in their visits to the island for trade ; the 
people were fast entering upon an enlarged scale of commercial 
intercourse; the missionaries, Pitman and Buzacott, were 
much out of health, resulting from past years of trying labour. 
All these things made us feel anxious. The transition had 
been more than usually quick from heathenism to civilisa- 
tion J and with increasing success we felt the weight of in- 
creasing responsibility. 

In the midst of our varied labours and anxieties we were 

overtaken by a dire calamity such as had not been known for 

twenty years. 

On the morning of 16th of March, 1846, 1 had attended 


1 80 Selections from 

the adults' and children's school^ and had held in the forenoon 
a conference with the chiefs and people as to the best means 
of restoring the settlement, so as to repair the injuries of the 
gale in February. 

The weather had been very threatening the whole of the 
day, and, expecting another storm, we did all in our power to 
secure the roofs and windows of chapel, schools, and our 
house. At 8 p.m. we assembled the boys in the boarding- 
school for worship ; but we had scarcely closed service when 
a strong gust of wind burst open the door of the windward 
side of our house. As soon as possible we replaced the door 
and began to put away books, &c., in boxes. 

While thus engaged a tremendous gust of wind broke on 
the roof, part of which feU. In a moment all was alarm and 
consternation. As soon as possible I went to the storehouse ; 
the roof was gone ; the terrible wind was still increasing. 
E., I found, by feeling rather than by sight, was crouched 
down by the side of a box. We and the servants then 
took refuge in the boarding-school, but were soon obliged 
to quit; and during the whole of that terrible night we 
had to remain exposed to the fury of the hurricane. The 
following is a record of the circumstances sent to our friends 
in England:— 

" A few days since we forwarded letters, &c., in reference to the in- 
creasing trials of our brethren in Tahiti and the Society Islands. Little 
did I then think that I should so soon have to give you an account of our 
own calamities. My heart is so heavy at the scene of desolation which now 
surrounds us, and so burdened by a sense of the trials which await our- 
selves and our people, that I feel it difficult in the extreme to collect my 
thoughts for writing, and utterly impossible to convey to you a correct 
representation of our present circumstances. For the past few years we 
have enjoyed much prosperity. The good Word of the Lord has had 
free course among the people. Our schools have been well attended, 
and were cheering our hearts with prospects of much fruit Our i^|(!C^e- 
ments were in good condition ; many good stone houses have been bwt ; 
and our chapels were our glory and dehght. But, alas ! in a few hours 
— a few awful, never-to-be-forgotten hours— our prospects have been 
blighted, and our hearts left to mourn in anguish over a desolation 
before unknown to these people. 

" Up to the evening of the 13th, I had been staying at Avarua with 
Mr. Buzacott revising the Scriptures ; but, having a meeting to attend 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. i8i 

at Arorangiy I then retomed, leaving Mrs. Oill to be brought on the 
following day, the rains being so heavy. On the 14th (Sabbath) the 
weather was so unfavourable that it was with difficulty we held our 
morning service. The following day, at six a.nL, we held a previously 
appointed meeting with the principal people of the station to make 
arrangements for burning lime, collecting stones and wood for a new 
school-house, and for other improvements in the settlement Here we 
were detained some time by heavy rains. During the day the wind 
increased very much, but, continuing steady from the east, we did not 
apprehend danger, especially as our stormy months had passed by, and 
we had had two severe gales within the last six weeks. 

''At sunset (15th) we had the doors and windows of the chapel 
fastened, and, after putting away several movable articles of furniture, 
we assembled for family prayer. We had scarcely risen from our knees 
when all was sudden consternation. The fury of the wind had burst 
open a door. As soon as possible it was again secured, with all the 
windows in the direction of the wind. By this time it was evident we 
must prepare for the worst. Calling together the servants and natives 
who were near, we began to remove books, medicines, papers, &c. 
While thus engaged, a dreadful gust of wind beat on the house. Mrs. 
Gill fEunted. We found it impossible to remain any longer. Our 
storehouse, which stood near, and had been more recently built, we 
made our first place of refuge. We had scarcely got inside this house 
before the thatch was blown off, and we were deluged with rain. 
Seeking shelter a little time by crouching down by the side of a box, 
we were soon obliged to fly. The bursting open of the door admitted 
the wind, which blew wilii such force that before we could tell what to 
do the windows and sides of the house were blown out. 

" During this consternation a native ventured to carry Mrs. Gill to a 
small detached school-house on the premises. I remained with a few 
of the people to fasten up the windows, in order to preserve, if possible, 
a little of our provisions, continually looking with intense anxiety 
toward a light still burning in our dwelling-house. About this time 
(midnight) the wind shifted from east to west-south-west This, having 
full play on our settlement, was destined to complete the awful devasta- 
tion. While taking shelter under the broken door of the store-house, 
our servant, who up to this time had been staying in the house, came 
running, crying in the most piteous strains. Calling for me — for 
nothing could be seen, only as the awful lightning shed a momentary 
gleam on us — he cried, * Where is the teacher ] Where are you ] O 
listen to my voice ! Our house is down to the ground ! We shall all 
die ! We cannot live out this night' On hearing this I gave up all 
for lost, and hastened, in a crawling position — ^it was impossible to stand 
upright — ^to Mrs. Gill. The moment I left the storehouse the roof fell 
in. My wife, I found, had been obliged to leave her first place of refuge 
in the school-house, for it had fallen ; she was standing, supported by a 

1 82 Selections from 

natiye woman, by the door of a small sleeping-room, the only place that 
now remained on our premises. 

^ Here for a moment we encouraged each other to exercise confidence 
in the Lord. Just then the most fearful blast was experienced : the 
lightning flashed incessantly, the earth trembled, and the repeated crash 
of rolling thunder which rent the air was all but lost in the still more 
tenific roar of the ¥rind. Leaning on the arm of a native, Mrs. Gill 
and I now fled unsheltered to the open field. To flee to the monntaiiis 
was unsafe, for uprooted trees were flying around us in every direction. 
To escape to the settlement was impossible, for the floods had risen to 
the verandah of our house. Thus exposed, and in most awful suspense, 
we almost despaired of life. While in this predicament the gale moderated 
a little. Looking towards the shelter we last left we saw that a part of 
the wall was still standing, and a few pieces of thatch stiU remaining 
on the roof ; we returned, and, with much trembling, watched for the 
morning. As soon as the path to our house could be seen, natives came 
from the settlement, from whom we learnt that the chiefs reed-house 
was standing. Mrs. Gill was taken there. The native women came to 
render all the assistance in their power ; taking off all her wet garments 
they laid her in one of their blankets on the dry grass of the house. 

" To give you a description of the scene presented by the morning 
light is impossible. Our house in ruins ; furniture injured ; clothes 
and provisions spoiled ; box after box, as opened, only increasing our 
trouble; most of our valuable books completely destroyed; and our 
little store of sugar and flour swimming in water. AU this, however, 
we could have borne with comparative resignation ; but when the 
natives ventured to tell us that Zion, our holy and beautiful house, was 
in ruins, we felt we had lost our alL This is our chief triaL The poor 
people weep at the sight, and on every mention of it exdaim, 
' Alas ! alas ! Ziona, our rest and our joy ! What shall we do 1 Who 
shall comfort us ? ' The scene is most heart-rending. The poor people 
have at least two years of famine before them ! This, in their present 
weakened state, we fear, will deeply affect their constitutions. Our 
only hope is in the Lord. May His mercy still comfort us and His 
power still assist us ; then we may yet rejoice in the light of His 
countenance. We also rely much on the sympathy, prayers, and assist- 
ance of the Directors and our friends at home. We know you will be 
deeply afflicted on our account ; we trust you will not despair, but still 
continue those expressions which never fiedl to encourage us and our 

^' I fear the valuable subscription of arrowroot for last year is all 
spoiled ; this year there will be none. 

^ On Saturday last, after putting up a little shed for a temporary 
abode, accompanied by all the male church members, I visited the 
different settlements on the island. Ngatangua and Avarua have been 
deluged by the rising of the sea. Everything is desolate. Our friends, 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 183 

Mr. and Mrs. Pitman, with their sister, in running from their house, 
fell into the water which surrounded it ; and, but for the assistance of a 
native woman and a gentleman residing with them, must have been 

Hurricane at Mangau. 

The hurricane extended its ravages to the Island of Man- 
gaia, 120 miles eastward of Earotonga. It reached that island 
four hours later than Earotonga. My brother George gives 
the following description of its ravages : — 

" At four o'clock on Tuesday morning, 17 th of March, we were dis- 
turbed from sleep by the bursting open of all our windows with great 
violence. The wind was roaring like thunder, and the sea was dashing 
furiously upon the reef. The whole village was alarmed and in great 
confusion. In the darkness of the hour the foam of the billows and the 
waves gave us light. How dreadful was our suspense in watching and 
waiting for dawn ! As dawn appeared the wind and sea increased in 
violence, and everything seemed to be doomed to destruction. The 
stones from the beach, carried by the wind like hail, fell upon us, and 
the whole house itself was rocking. Mrs. Gill with our dear babe hur- 
ried outside, and for more than an hour were supported by natives 
surrounding them, as it was impossible to stand without help, or to 
seek a shelter, in consequence of the violence of the wind. 

"There we stood, in dreadful anxiety, drenched to the skin, and 
watching the falling of houses and trees iand the rolling of the sea. 
Who can describe the anxiety of that hour % Our dwelling-house was 
roofless, and the gable ends had fallen. The house in which we kept 
our stores was also shivered and rocking, and almost roofless. The rain 
fell in torrents ; we were without shelter, and trembling with cold. 
The natives gathered around us for coimfort and counsel ; but I was 
unable to speak, either to direct or console. Just at this time there was 
an awful shriek, which rent the air, and seemed to be louder and higher 
than the roar of winds and waves. The natives observed that the wind 
had changed, and had assumed the character of a whirlwind ; every 
part of the village was caught by its violence, and the tallest trees, with 
more than fifty houses, fell in a moment Still aU was not over ; the 
winds again roared, and the waters thundered; trees, as they were 
broken, were tossed in the air, and were seen turning rapidly like wheels. 

" I had left the tree near to which I was standing to take my position 
at another whence I could command a longer view of the village. I 
observed the sea again rushing upon the shore, and with it came a 
stronger gust than we had yet felt ; the very land seemed to shake. 
Seven large houses fell, with the school-houses and the old chapel, 
which was more than 120 feet long and 36 feet wide. I was blown 

1 84 Selections from 

down, bat, Tecovering, I seized a young tree to support myself, and, 
looking around me upon the beach, I could see no house standing. I 
looked towards the n«i0 chapel on the top of the hill, and greatly re- 
joiced to see it standing, although I perceived the roof was much injured. 
But another moment — and another gust — and it was not ! the building 
rocked and I saw it fall ! Alas ! alas ! my heart was just broken. 

'' The hurricane extended around the whole island ; the two inland 
stations are desolated ; the chapels, the schools, and the dwellings of the 
natives are all levelled to the ground. The plantations of food are 
greatly injured, and the arrowroot, which they had stored up as con- 
tributions to the Society for the year 1846, is destroyed. But He, irho 
rides upon the wings of the wind and directs the fury of the storm, 
said — Peace I be still ! and the tempest of the morning was followed by 
an evening unusually placid and serene. In our store-house, half full 
of dirt and water, we laid us down to rest, though not to sleep. 
Throughout the night we watched the broad expanse of the starry 
heavens through our roofless house ; and, if we did not feel as comfort- 
able as we could have wished, we still felt peace. The sea was again 
calm — ^like a lake ; the winds were gentle ; the stars thickly and 
brightly shining ; and we looked on them with gratitude and confi- 
dence, as they led our thoughts to Him ^ who spake the promises.' In 
Him we have a refoge from every storm that blows, and in the security 
of His pavilion we will abide until these calamities be overpast. They 
are designed to humble us, and to teach His power and dominion ; and 
we will humble ourselves under His mighty hand, that He may exalt 
us in due time.** 

The Church at home very generously responded to an 
appeal which the Directors made on our behalf. A sum of 
£3,000 was raised, and a large supply of useful goods sent for 
the use of our poor people. In acknowledging the receipt 
of the goods, the chief sent the following letter to the 
Directors of the Missionary Society : — 

'* Friends, brethren, and sisters in Britain ! Blessing on you from 
our Lord Jesus Christ, throughout continual ages. Our hearts have 
been greatiy rejoiced at this season by your compassion towards us 
under our sufferings, on account of the famine of this land, caused by 
the great hurricane of the year that has fallen behind us. You have 
heard that the houses were blown down, and all the trees ; nothing 
stood. The desolation cannot be described. But we are now wonder- 
ing at your compassion to us : it is very great Our fathers are dead — 
they knew not that there remained such great love in store for us. We 
now know and rejoice in this dispensation. What is the origin ? Let 
us think ! Why are we thus compassionated ? This \a the root of it 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 185 

—the love of God. This is the only source : there is no other. We 
need not seek any other. Only this — ^the compassion of God. 

'^ Now the food you sent us has reached us. It was made known that 
the churches in Britain had sent it to the churches in Rarotonga^. It 
came here in a ship &om Sydney, and was divided among the people of 
the settlements. Our division was eight bags and a half of rice and five 
bags of biscuit. This was given out to the chiefs and governors of the 
district, and they divided it among the households of this station 
(Avarua). We were filled with joy and wonder. We are truly a 
privileged generation. We did nothing but wonder. 

" We then asked our teacher how we were to cook the rice. When he 
told us we were much amused. Having received our portion, we began 
to cook it ; some baked theirs in the native oven ; some boiled it in 
pans ; and others tied up portions in the leaves of the Ti-tree, and thus 
cooked it. There was no measure to our joy. You would have thought 
we were children, thus eating our rice and biscuit. 

** After the gale, we had nothing but pumpkins, which we used to eat 
with the roots of the * ti ' and the * oe * plants. Such was our food after 
the gale. We then planted potatoes and taro. No one sat still — all 
were diHgent in planting ; so that we now have bread-fruit, banana, 
plantains, &c. We are still planting, and should another gale come 
this year it will make an end, and we shall have nothing left. This is 
a strange land — ^there can be no other like it — ^gales come one after the 
other — ^there is no ceasing. It is, however, welL It is not man, but 
God Himself, and He is Lord of heaven and earth. Man C£m do 
nothing ; but with God all things are possible — whether to bring to 
naught or to increase. He is Lord of alL 

" We have written this that you might know the joy with which we 
have received your compassion. We are truly leaping with joy through 
you in this dispensation of love. 

" Written by the Chiefs, Governors, and Landholders." 

It will readily be seen that these difficulties laid heavy 
work on our hands and much anxiety on our hearts. The 
first thing to be attended to by us was the erection of tem- 
porary houses, so as to set the people free to attend to their 

The first Sunday after the gale was one of great trial. 
Our new and beautiful chapel was a wreck. We met on its 
ruins, and amid much weeping held a service of prayer. I 
preached from Isa. xxvi. 20. In the afternoon six assemblies 
were held at different places in the settlement. 

While in the midst of our work at Arorangi the missionary 
ship arrived from Sydney. It was a most welcome visit, for we 

1 86 Selections from 

were much in need of supplies. The only drawback was that 
it took away Mr. and Mrs. Buzacott, who were much out of 
health, to visit Tahiti; they were to be absent for three 

The charge of the two stations, with their churches, 
schools, and the Institution, now devolved upon ourselves. 
Happily, we were able to make use of several able and trust- 
worthy natives as teachers and helpers. E. and I took 
up our residence principally at Avarua, so as to be near 
the students for daily classes, visiting Arorangi once in t^vo 
weeks. During the three months of Mr. Buzacott's absence 
all teaching and services had been renewed, and the settle- 
ments were put in as good order as possible. 

The good old chief Tinomana, who was forty years old, and 
a heathen, when the Gospel was first brought to this land, 
was still living ; and his firm adhesion to Christianity, his 
simple faith and consistent loving behaviour, were a source 
of much pleasure to us. A friend of mine in London had 
sent him a few presents, and the following is his own letter 
sent in acknowledgment of the kindness, and is highly 
characteristic of the style in which the more educated 
Christian islanders are accustomed to speak and write. It 
gives me real pleasure to preserve this letter, for I knew 
him so well and loved him : — 

" Friend, — I am about to make known to you my former character. 
It was darkness — evil and savage. Ignorance is the author of all evil. 
The reign of the devil is an evil reign. Two tribes came formerly, 
before the introduction of Christianity, and made war with me. I fled 
to the mountains, because they were many and we were few. After- 
wards we made peace ; but the peace of heathen chiefs is not of long 

" When my father died, the kingdom came to me, and I governed 
imder the savage king, the deviL War again grew, but my enemies 
did not overcome me. The name of one party was, * Takitumu ' {cofm- 
pletely tear up) ; the name of the other, * Taareotonga ' (Jh$ Soutkem 
Reign), The name of my party was, ' Buangi Kura ' {strength of the 
bread-fruit). The enemy obtained guns from a foreign ship, fired upon 
us, and three were killed : all my people were greatly distressed, 
because we had not before been accustomed to the firing of guns. If 
we ran to the mountains we were not safe — ^guns are strange weapons. 
We kissed each other again, and again dwelt in peace. 

The Rev. TV, Gill's Autobiography, 187 


Not long after, war grew among themselves. Makea, chief of 
Avarua, was driven to me for shelter ; and we were dwelling together, 
when a ship came and brought the Word of God to this land. I be- 
lieved, and received the thing the teachers taught. They told us to 
cast away our gods, to bum them in the fire ; saying, * Jehovah is the 
true God, in whom is salvation ! ' I asked, * What is that new doctrine ? 
who is that God 1 ' Papeiha then said, * Jehovah is God : Jesus is the 
Lord ! ' I then asked, ' Will wars cease 1 will my head be safe ? will 
my children and my people live ? ' It was answered, * There will be no 
more war, no death, but peace and life will grow : the reign of Jesus is 
a good and lasting reign.' I then burnt my gods — they blaZied in the 
fire. I put away my many wives (seven in number), and put down all 
heathen practices. 

" Friend, this which I have made known is a part of my former 
character when I did the savage work of the devil. Now I know the 
true God, who made the heavens and the earth, from whom cometh the 
dominion of kings in this world. I am now dwelling in the reign of 
Jesus : often am I thinking of my former days — ^the days of my youth. 
Now I am old, my joy is the great love and goodness of God, and that 
I should know the peace of Jesus. 

"The eye-lengtheners (spectacles) you sent me have reached me — ^they 
are now with me. I am rejoiced, while I look through the glasses, to 
read the Word of God, because my eyes are misty with age. 

" This is the conclusion of my letter. May you be saved by the true 

" Written by my daughter-in-law, Stephano Vaine. 

" My own hand writes : — 

" TiNOMANA, Chief of Arorangi." 

1 88 



Eably in July the missionary ship returned, and, although 
Mr. Buzacott's health was improved, it was evident that he 
ought to leave the mission for prolonged rest and change. It 
was therefore decided that he and Mrs. Buzacott should 
proceed to England on the vessel's next visit. 

Under these circumstances it was thought desirable that 
we should go for a six months' voyage and visit the out- 
stations in Western Polynesia, some 3,500 miles distant. 
This was a most unlooked-for arrangement, but the present 
and future of the mission required it, so we fell in with it. 
Selecting four or five native teachers, we soon got ready for 
the long voyage, and set sail on the 18th of July, 1846. 

On our way through the Hervey Group we called at Atiu. 
Since my last visit the people had built a fine chapel. The 
pillars and floor were of fine Tamanu wood, and would seat a 
thousand people. 

Leaving Atiu, we reached Aitutaki, whence, after four days' 
sail,we came to a small island of the Samoan Group — Manua. 
I landed, and had a service with the people through the in- 
terpretation of an English sailor, Matthew Hunkin, now an 
assistant missionary teacher. At night I returned on board. 
Next day we saw two other islands — Ofo and Olosenga — 
both inhabited and having Christian native teachers. We 
then visited Tutuila and Leone, and had two days' pleasant 
intercourse with Eev. A. W. Murray and Eev. T. Bullen. 

It was seven years since I first saw these semi-heathen 
natives on my arrival from England, and very gratifying it 
was to witness the great advance of the people in Christian 
knowledge and behaviour. 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 189 

Leaving Tutuila, we sailed for TJpolu, and, after two days' 
rough passage, cast anchor in the harbour of Apia. A trading 
vessel was there, the captain of which told us that, in sailing 
from the west last week, he had passed through sixty miles 
of dense smoke and ashes, evidently the result of some 
volcanic eruption. 

While at Apia a general meeting of the missionaries was 
held, at which the whole staff met, thirteen in number. The 
business of the convocation continued three days. Eeports 
of the Samoan teachers, the translation of the Scriptures and 
printing first copies at the mission press for correction by 
natives, and visitation of distant islands were the subjects 
brought under consideration. The whole mission seemed to 
be growing rapidly. In company with some of the brethren, 
I visited various stations round the island, and was pleased 
indeed to find the people so advanced and prepared for 
further improvement. 

It was arranged that the Eev. H. Nisbet should accompany 
me to the Westward Islands. Having held services with the 
natives and the sailors, we bade our friends at Upolu farewell 
and set sail for Savaii, the last island of the group — a very 
large and thickly populated one. We went on shore at 
Matautu, the station where the Eev. Mr. Pratt was labouring. 
After intercourse with Mr. Pratt, his family and people, we 
sailed westward, taking with us fourteen native teachers to 
locate wherever doors might be opened for them, and also a 
native of Savage Island who was anxious to return there. 

Visit to FATfe, 1846. 

In October we reached Fat^. The day before sighting the 
island our ship had passed inhospitable Eromanga; thick 
clouds were resting on its mountains, and thicker clouds 
of heathen delusion and degradation enveloped its savage 
population. Drawing near Fat^, however, we had in view a 
land of hope, and all nature seemed to animate and encourage 
us. It was one of those lovely South Sea mornings of which 
people who live only in northern climes can have no concep- 
tion ; the sea was smooth, the sky clear, and a fair " trade 

I go Selections from 

wind" bore us nearer and nearer to Fate's extensive and 
fertile shores. 

We were happy in the hope of cheering the hearts and 
relieving the wants of our devoted native brethren, who had 
been left so long without visitation. On nearing the shore 
the two teachers were soon alongside, and were taken on 
board. Their unbounded joy at again seeing the ship, after 
eighteen months' residence in much suspense, can better be 
imagined than described. In the embrace of their brethren 
they fell prostrate on the deck ; sobs gave relief to the joy of 
their overflowing hearts, and, as soon as they could speak, 
words of praise were the first sounds heard. " Faafetai i le 
Atua ! Faafetai i le Atua i tona alofa tele ! " (Praise be to 
God ! Praise be to God for His great love !) 

Many of the incredulous heathen, especially the warriors 
and priests, had long since taunted the teachers and the 
party attached to them "that their ' rdigion-ship' would not 
return," and " that they had been deceived by the foreigners, 
who only wished to gain possession of their land." 

It was not deemed safe for us to go on shore ; yet there 
was no danger apprehended by our coming to an anchor in the 
harbour. This we did towards the evening of the day, and 
the ship was immediately surrounded by more than a hundred 
canoes, each caxrying from four to ten natives, many of whom 
were admitted on board. As might be imagined, there was 
much wildness and confusion in their conduct ; but we were 
desirous to reciprocate the friendly disposition they seemed 
willing to manifest ; and, this being done, at sunset we gave 
them to understand that we should like them all to leave the 
ship until morning. This intimation was given through one 
or two of the leading men, and in an instant scores of these 
unseemly looking savages were scrambling down over the 
sides of the ship in utmost confusion, amidst hideous yells 
and shouts ; each, however, understood what he was about, 
and, getting into his own canoe, paddled to the shore. 

Left alone with the teachers on board, I spent most of the 
night in listening to a report of the various incidents that 
had occurred during the protracted absence of the ship, and 
in gaining an account of the habits and customs of the people. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 191 

It was found that, in common with all the Polynesian tribes, 
they believed in the existence and dominion of a god, which 
they called " Maui-tikitikL" They had no carved idols or 
images, but had many objects and places connected with 
events and persons which they held sacred ; they also ren- 
dered worship to their departed chiefs and renowned warriors. 
They believed in a state of future existence, and made some 
preparation to enter it happily by attending to certain rites 
and ceremonies. When asked where the happy place is 
whither they desired to go at death they invariably pointed 
towards the west, and called it " Lakinatoto." 

The population of the island is numerous, and is divided 
into tribes numbering from one to three hundred people. 
Each tribe is governed by its own chief; hence constant 
jealousies occur, which frequently lead to war. Cannibalism, 
polygamy, and infanticide were found to prevail beyond 
restraint in their most barbarous forms. 

The people were very averse to strangers penetrating into 
their country. One day, however, as a great favour, gained 
through the kindness of the Bishop of New Zealand, a party 
from his vessel was permitted to visit the spot where the 
teachers had erected a house; they were not, however, 
allowed to go along the shore, but were conducted by an 
inland route. The native houses were of tolerably large 
dimensions, oblong in form, with curved roof, closed at the 
sides, but open at the end. The first of these seen was taken 
for a temple ; from the rafters were suspended human bones, 
supposed to be offerings to the gods. On reaching the village 
they were ushered into a large building, 100 feet long by 25 
feet wide, having the whole of one side open, and the interior 
of the roof also entirely concealed by bundles of bones, verte- 
brae of pigs, joints of their tails, merrythoughts of fowls, and 
bones of birds and fishes mingled with lobster-shells and 
sharks' fins. These, I learnt, were more or less connected 
with their religious ceremonies. 

I was gi^atified, by the testimony of the teachers, to find 
that Sualo, the celebrated Samoan chieftain, continued steady 
in his attachment. He was still a heathen, yet desirous to 
lend his influence in aiding the establishment of Christianity 

192 Selections from 

throughout the island. Each teacher had been pennitted to 
build himself a house, a part of which was appropriated as a 
place of instruction to the people. The first day of the week 
had begun to be observed by many as the Lord's-day — ^a day 
of rest; schools, adult and juvenile, had been established; and 
more than a hundred persons at each of the stations where 
the teachers resided had nominally renounced the practices 
of heathenism. 

This success, however, created a struggle in which the 
powers of darkness aroused the natives to more than usual 
activity and strength. One deadly conflict had been engaged 
in by the tribes among whom Christian truth and light had 
become an antagonistic power. The conflict continued for 
weeks, and many were the slain of both parties. 

The cruel practice of burjdng alive old and infirm people 
and new-bom infants, especially females, was found to exist 
to a fearful extent, but against it the benign influence of 
Christianity had exerted its power successfully. 

Having heard this report, we resolved to have a public 
service on board the ship the following day. Messengers 
were sent on shore to announce our wishes, and in a very 
short time the deck was completely crowded with a company 
of tall, black, naked, wild, yet attentive people. Taking our 
seats on the quarter-deck, and having near us the teachers 
and principal chiefs, we expounded, through our interpreters, 
the doctrines of the Gospel. On board the mission ship, at 
sea, surrounded by such a congregation, we " were fishers of 
men," letting down the Gospel-net into the abyss of deepest 
moral degradation, and bringing up to heaven's light many 
thickly encrusted pearls of inestimable worth, which, when 
polished, are to be gems of eternal splendour in the crown of 
Jesus the Saviour. 

At the close of this service the people desired that we 
would not only leave amongst them the former teachers, but 
that we would add to their number. Four tried young men 
were therefore set apart to reinforce this mission, and they 
were instructed to prudently make a tour of the whole land, 
and to locate themselves at stations as opportunity should 

The Rev. W, GilVs Autobiography, 193 

Amongst the assembly above alluded to there was an old 
and influential chief, called Ngos, who, with his tribe, in- 
habited a small island situated in the bay where our ship 
was lying at anchor ; and, after having made arrangements 
to locate /oz47' teachers on the mainland, Ngos requested, with 
great importunity, that we would allow one to reside with 
him. I was much pleased with this request, but to comply 
with it was a difficulty. Already we had drawn too largely 
from our limited number of teachers, and, having yet to 
visit other islands in the group, felt unable, from those who 
remained, to select one for Ngos. 

While, however, hesitating what to do, a young man, a 
tried, consistent junior deacon of my church at Earotonga, 
came and said that he had been spending the previous night 
in prayer to God for himself and wife to enter on missionary 
labour amongst this people, and that now they were not only 
willing, but anxious to be allowed to go with Ngos. This 
offer was thankfully accepted, and Tain was landed on the 
island of Mele under circumstances of peculiar interest. 
Tairi was bom in Earotonga just about the time the Gospel 
Was introduced to that island. His father was a great 
" mataiapo," or independent landholder, in one of the largest 
districts, and was the son of one of the most savage warriors, 
who gained pre-eminence in deeds of cruelty in times when 
idolatry and war were rampant. Tairi's father was one of 
the first of his tribe who gave attention to Christian instruc- 
tion, and who publicly professed his having received "the 
Word of Jehovah " as his guide and portion. 

Tairi himself was among the group of heathen lads who first 
attended the schools established at Earotonga by Papeiha, and, 
in 1832, he received from the hands of Mr. Williams the first 
book which he could call his own. He gave heed to instruc- 
tion, made good progress in reading, writing, arithmetic, and 
geography, and was soon distinguished in the midst of his 
companions as a thoughtful, pious youth. At the age of 
eighteen he made profession of his attachment to Jesus by 
uniting himself to the church, and henceforth he gave his 
time and talents and influence, with constancy and zeal, to 

the work of instructing his fellow-countrymen. Three years 


1 94 Selections from 

after joining the church he was set apart as an assistant 
missionary to Maretu, the native pastor, who had charge of 
Mangaia ; for two years he filled this office with ability and 
success. On the appointment of an English missionary to 
Mangaia, Tairi returned to Earotonga, was elected a deacon 
to the church at Arorangi, and, surrendering his claim to a 
large inheritance of landed property in favour of his younger 
brother, he gave himself to theological and general studies, 
with a view to the office of the ministry. 

Such was Tairi's character and position in 1846. He was 
truly one of the numerous gems gained from Polynesian 
tribes — the fruit and the glory of our missionary enterprise. 
His Christian excellency shone with a steadily increasing 
strength. In the church, in the settlement, and in the 
schools he was loved, and in the light of his instruction and 
example both the aged and the young delighted to follow 
where he led the way. We hoped his life would be spared, 
and that in future years he would be an efficient pastor over 
one of the Polynesian churches. On the arrival of the 
mission ship, in which we were to visit the distant tribes 
of the New Hebrides and Loyalty Groups, Tairi and his ex- 
cellent wife expressed their desire to accompany us, but did 
not disclose their intention in reference to missionary work 
until we were at Fat^, when Ngos, the chief, requested a 
teacher for his tribe. It was then that Tairi came and told 
us that he and his wife had been prajdng to God to open to 
them some field of labour in a heathen land, and that they 
had botli made arrangements not to return to Earotonga ; in 
proof of wliich he showed us a basketful of mallets and other 
tools for making " bark cloth," which he said his wife had 
brought with her to teach the heathen how to make cloth. 
Finding that I hesitated to accede to his desire on his 
parent's account, he said, "My father understands and 
approves of my intention. On bidding him farewell I said, 
' Father, do not again think of me in reference to our land ; 
give me up to the work of Jesus amongst the heathen.' My 
father said, ' Well, my son, if it be the will of God, I do give 
you up. I, and your fathers before me, have done much 
service for Satan during his reign over our country; go, my 

The Rev. IV, GilVs Autobiography, 1Q5 

son, I give you up ; go, and may you be a good warrior in the 
service of Jesus.' " 

Tain died of fever brought on through want. His 
attached and faithful wife was spared the pains of disease 
to fall under circumstances still more distressing. She 
was in health at the time of her husband's death, and 
soon expecting to give birth to her first-born child. The 
other teachers were at their distant stations, but arrange- 
ments had been made to remove her to one of their stations 
as soon as possible. Some time, however, elapsed before this 
could be accomplished, and she was left alone. Taking 
advantage of her desolate and unprotected condition, these 
degraded people, prompted in the first instance by good 
motives, proposed that she should be given to one of the 
chiefs, who already had many wives, with whom it was pro- 
posed she should live. This proposition she, day by day, 
strongly opposed, until one night a party of savages came 
to her house, and said that they were now resolved to accom- 
plish their object by carrjdng her off to the chiefs house ; 
she succeeded in resisting them until morning, and then ran 
into a nan-ow part of the sea, which divides Mele from the 
mainland of Fat^, hoping thereby to escape, and gain the 
protection of the other teachers. She was pursued, and, 
getting out of her depth, she sank and was drowned — ^thus 
preferring death to degradation! We do homage to the 
noble spirit of this Christian woman, and to God's grace, 
which made her what she was. 

Visit to Eromanga, 1846. 

Eromanga is an island about a hundred miles in circum- 
ference. Its coast is for the most part rugged and barren ; 
its mountains are of moderate height, and its valleys, even in 
heathenism, were in a state of comparative cultivation. 

The first acquaintance of the EngUsh with its inhabitants 

was made in 1774 by Captain Cook. On nearing the shore 

his ship ranged the west coast, keeping about a mile distant. 

Numerous inhabitants were seen, who invited the strangers 

to land. Detained by contrary winds and currents, the vessel 


1 96 Selections from 

did not get near the land until the fourth day. Two boats 
were lowered, and Captain Cook, commanding one of them, 
began to seek a proper place for landing ; but, not finding any, 
owing to the rocks which everywhere lined the coast, he 
merely put the boat's bow to the shore, and distributed 
various presents to the natives, who became so desirous that 
he and his party should land that they oflfered to haul the 
boat over the breakers. Finding that their offer was not 
acceded to, the excited people directed the *' papalangi," or 
"heavenly foreigners," to row farther down the bay, while 
they ran along the shore. At length the captain landed, on 
a fine sandy beach, in the midst of a vast concourse of natives, 
having nothing in his hand but a green branch of a tree, 
which he had obtained from the people, and by which he 
signified his peaceful intentions. 

In all probability this navigator was the first white man 
who had come in actual contact with the Eromangans. What 
they thought of him we know not ; but he was evidently 
much channed with their behaviour. He says they received 
him with " great courtesy and politeness ; " — ^they brought 
him cocoa-nuts, and yams, and water, and a chief successfully 
exerted himself to keep the crowd in order, making them 
form a semicircle round the bow of the boat. Nothing in 
their manners on this occasion gave indication of unfriendly 
feelings ; only that they appeared, what they were in reality, 
a heathen people, in a degraded condition, armed with clubs, 
spears, and bows and arrows. 

About the time when Williams fell, there were two native 
boys, one on the island of Aitutaki, and another on the 
island of Earotonga, who, in the days of their youth, gave 
themselves to God, and were raised up to be the honoured 
instruments favourably to commence the good work on the 

In the year 1840, I was one evening sitting in my stud y, 
at Arorangi, Rarotonga, when a little boy from the settlement 

The Rev. JV. GilVs Autobiography, 197 


came and knocked at the door. On being admitted, I asked 
him his errand, and, in reply, he said that he had been 
thinking a long time past that he would like to do 
"angaanga no te are te Atua" — some work for the 
house of God. Eather surprised at such a proposition, f 
asked him what he thought he could do. He replied, that he 
would like to ring the bell. At that time we had no metal 
bells, but a kind of wooden gong, which answered the 
purpose. A piece of hard wood, about three feet long, and 
eight inches in diameter, was hollowed out, which, being 
struck by a small stick of iron-wood, makes a sharp shrill 
sound, heard from a mile and a half to two miles distant. 
This gong was used to announce the time for worship in 
the chapels, and also to gather the children to the schools, 
and it was to this that the lad referred when he said, " That 
he would like to do something — something for the house of 
God," and he desired to begin by striking the gong. 

Two years afterwards I formed a boarding-school on our 
own premises for the education of lads of promise who were 
in the settlement school. The evening after these lads had 
been selected, Akatangi came to my house, looking very 
sorrowful, and, on my inquiring the cause, he said : " Alas ! 
my heart has been crying all day." " And why so ? " was my 
question ; to which he answered, " You were at the school 
this morning, and you selected Tekao and Nootu, and others, 
to come to your new school. All the time you were there I 
kept looking at you, and thought I would like to have come with 
them ; but you said that the number was complete, and when I 
heard that my heart began to cry, and has been crying all day." 
" Are you, then, very desirous," I ask-ed, " to come to this 
boarding-school ? " " My desire," he replied, " is very great." 
Knowing his family, I said : " But how can you be spared 
from home — your mother is dead ; you are the eldest of your 
family, and are needed by your father to assist in his planta- 
tions ? " To this he quickly rejoined : " I think my father 
will give his consent if you will allow me to come." Akatangi 
returned home that night with a lighter heart then he had 
brought. Inquiries were made; his teachers recommended 
him ; liis father gave him up, and before the end of the month 

1 98 SeUcttons from 

this lad was a resident in my boarding-school in the settle- 
ment of Arorangi 

He gave diligent attention to reading, writing, arithmetic, 
geography, history, and other branches of instruction, but did 
not give up his office of "bell-ringer." Every morning he 
was seen beating the wooden gong, calling together the 
children of the settlement school, and attending it himself. 
Two or three years passed on, and he became known as a 
youth who loved reading the Word of God, and who daily 
observed private prayer. 

One night, when he was about fourteen years old — ^he 
always came at night when he had anything to say about 
liimself — ^he visited me, and said that he had a "manga 
manoko iti " — a little thought — ^which he wished me to know. 
I inquired what it was ; he replied that he would Uke to 
become a " tangata no te Atua " — a man of God. I assured 
him that was no littU thought, but a great and a good desire. 
After further conversation, he said : " I have been thinking 
I would like soon to join the church." I then remarked, 
" that merely becoming a member of the church would not 
make him a vuin of Ood!' " No," he replied, " I know that ; 
but I have given myself to God, and now desire to give myself 
to His people." Akatangi continued his consistent Christian 
life, and was admitted to communion with the members of 
the church at Arorangi. 

Months rolled on, and his term of scholarship had well-nigh 
expired, when one night he came again, and said he had now 
been a long time under instruction ; he trusted the advantages 
he had received had not been entirely "puapinga kore," — 
profitless ; he felt grateful to God for those advantages, and 
that he was now desirous to give himself to the work of a 
missionary among the heathen. If I thought him suitably 
qualified, he wished to be admitted in the Institution for 
native teachers and pastors. This was not altogether unex- 
pected by me, but it was the first time we had talked on the 
subject, and shortly afterwards he was transferred from 
the school to the College. Early in the year 1852, the 
missionary ship being expected to call at Earotonga, on her 
voyage from England to the heathen lands westward, Akatangi 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 199 

was appointed to proceed in her as a missionary. I well 
remember the interview I had with him when I communi- 
cated this decision. He wept tears of joy, and said " that it 
had long been his desire to be the first t^eacher to some 
TiecUhen people, who had not yet heard of the Gospel of Jesus." 
About aweek had passed^and the young missionary was again 
sitting by my side. For sonfe moments he remained silent, as 
though musing on some important subject. After his silent 
inusing,he said "that as his station had been partly fixed on,and 
the vessel was expected shortly, he had been thinking, if there 
was no difficulty in the way, that he would like to ' akaipoipo 
vaine ' " — get married. This proposition was as unlooked for 
by me as it was serious and important to his future history, 
and, thinking that his station would be somewhere near the 
island of Aneityum, where European missionaries resided, I 
expressed my concurrence in liis wishes, and inquired whether 
he had thought of any suitable individual. " Yes," he said, 
*' I have been thinking of Maria." This young woman was a 
daughter of one of our first native missionaries, and had been 
educated in the mission-school; I then asked if he had made 
known his desires to her. With some bashfulness, he 
said : " No, I have not yet spoken to her, but I have been 
looking at her for a long time." I rejoined that it was now 
necessary that something more should be done than merely 
looking. He replied that he thought so too ; and, putting his 
hand in his pocket, he *took out a letter, which he handed to 
me. It contained the important question for Maria's decision. 
Feelings of cheerfulness, mingled with a conscious importance 
of the matter, filled my mind as I read it. 
I will transcribe a copy : — 

"To Maria, the daughter of . 

I, Akatangi, have been appointed to go as a missionary to 
the heathen in the dark lands westward. I have been looking 
at you a long time, and I desire that you will go with me. 
If you love Jesus, if you love the heathen, and if you love 
me, let us go together. Think of this, and let me know. 
Blessings on you from Jesus. Amen. " Na Akatangi." 

A worthy deacon of the church conveyed the letter to 

200 Selections from 

Maria, who, on being told from whom it came, betrayed an 
expression of countenance which showed that his " looking at 
her" had produced no unfavourable impression; and, on 
reading it, she was pleased to signify her willingness to 
converse with her parents ; and, if their decision was favour- 
able, she would give an affirmative to the proposal. 

Akatangi and Maria were married, and in March, 1852, the 
mission ship reached Earotonga. They embarked ; and, after 
calling at Samoa, they proceeded to the island of Eromanga, 
and there, in company with a companion teacher, landed, and 
have been the means of instructing many of the people in the 
Word of God, and of leading the very men who murdered 
Williams and Harris to feel their sin, and to rejoice in the 
blood of Jesus that cleanseth from all sin. 

In a letter received from Akatangi, under date Eromanga, 
1854, he writes : — 

" To my minister, who instructed me. Blessings on 
you! The letter you wrote to me has come to hand. I 
and my wife read it with great pleasure, and we wished much 
to se« you ; but alas ! you are gone to Beritani. We are still 
here, and are doing the work of Jesus our Master, and He has 
prospered our work. The chief of the tribe with whom I am 
living is the man who murdered Wiliamu. He did not know 
that Wiliamu was a missionary. He is now full of distress 
when he thinks of what he did. But I am now teaching him 
the Word of God, and he is gaining knowledge. My joy is 
great in God, who has assisted me in this work, and who has 
brought the people to be instructed. * * * The work is 
still great ; send vs missionaries to do it" 

Early on the morning of the 21st of September we were off 
the leeward of Eromanga. Seeing a whale-boat sailing along 
the beach, we hove to. The boat came near, and we learnt 
from the crew that she belonged to the "Isabella Ann" 
Captain Jones, then lying at anchor in Dillon's Bay, collecting 
sandal wood. Calling off Dillon's Bay at noon, the captain 
and Mr. Nisbet went on board, and had a short interview with 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 201 

Captain Jones. Captain J. said the natives were continually ' 
at war among themselves. He had sailed all round the coast, 
and seen no other place of good anchorage than Dillon's 
Bay. He believed the whole population did not exceed 
1,000 souls. He found them in a most degraded state, and 
with but little food in the land. At their feasts they kill 
their women to eat. Of all South Sea islanders he had seen he 
thought these the most savage. A few natives came on board, 
while our friends were there, to whom Mr. Nisbet was able to 
make a few remarks, through some natives of Tanna, who were 
on board,and who knewsomething of thelanguage of Eromanga. 
The old chief — supposed to be the man seen on the last visit 
— ^was some distance inland. The natives were told to tell 
him who we were, and the object we had in view — what the 
teachers were doing in other islands, and that at some future 
time the vessel would again call, and we should be willing to 
leave teachers, if he would allow us to do so. 

Captain Jones gave us information respecting Tanna, which, 
much excited our apprehension for the safety of the teachers. 
He had heard that within the last two months a disturbance 
had taken place at Tanna between the natives and the teachers, 
and that the teachers had all fled to Aneityum. While we 
were unwilling to give implicit confidence to this report, it 
made us anxious to go on thither without further delay. 

Visit to Tanna, 1846. 

Tanna is a large island in the New Hebrides Group, which, 
when its resources are developed, will hold an important com- 
mercial position in Western Polynesia. It is about thirty 
nules to the west of Aneityum, and is about a hundred miles 
in circumference. Captain Cook, its discoverer, was much 
pleased with its appearance and impressed with its import- 
ance. The soil is exceedingly fertile. Even the highest 
mountains are covered with the richest vegetation to their 
very summits. The cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, and bananas are 
neither so plentiful nor so good as on the eastern islands of, 
the Pacific ; but the sugar-cane, sweet-potato, taro, fig-tree, 
and yams are not only plentiful, but superior in quality. 

The most interesting natural object on the island is a large 

202 Selections from 

active volcano, the crater of which forms the top of a low 
mountain, about three miles inland from Port Resolution. 
Tliis mountain is held in great veneration by the people, and 
its precincts are inhabited by the principal men of their 
idolatrous priesthood. It is sometimes exceedingly troubled, 
a deep, long, rumbling noise, like the roar of distant heavy 
thimder, being heard, which is usually followed by the 
appearance of prodigious columns of fire, and the casting up 
of great burning stones into the air. At the base of this 
mountain there are hot-springs of sulphurous water, in which 
the mercury rises to 190^ or 200° Fahrenheit. Pure sulphur 
is found in quantities near these springs, and the water is 
used by the natives for cooking purposes. 

This island was the first in Western Polynesia visited by 
Christian teachers, and by the Eev. John Williams, the 
day before his fall on Eromanga. "When will you come 
back ? " inquired the people as Williams left their shore ; 
" When will you come back ? " His murder occasioned a long 
delay of the missionary vessel's return, which, together vrith 
the unfavourable influence of other vessels that visited the 
island, produced a prejudicial impression on the minds of 
the people, and gave time for evils to grow which have not 
been fully overcome. The number of distinct tribes into 
which the people were divided, the diversities of tlieir 
languages, their superstitions respecting disease, and the 
envy and rage of the heathen priesthood were felt to be 
formidable difficulties, and its occupation by sandal-wood 
traders led us to decide that it should have English 
missionaries without delay. The Directors of our Society 
appointed the Eev. Messrs. Turner and Nisbet to this island, 
who, with their wives, landed in 1842. 

Kecording their first interview with the natives, they 
say : — " After landing, we wished the principal men of the 
district to come together. They did so, and we explained to 
them the object we had in coming among them ; this they 
seemed to understand, and promised to hold our lives and 
property secure from injury. But we have, however, reason 
to fear that, avarice and pride are the ruling motives of their 
minds ; by the Divine blessing even these may be overruled 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 203 

for good. Poor creatures! they are indeed in a degraded 
state ; naked, painted savages as they now are, we look upon 
them with the deepest interest and compassion." With 
devoted hearts and active hands, these brethren applied 
themselves to the arduous and self-denying labours of their 
station, and in three months they had picked up sufl&cient 
of the language to make themselves understood. For a few 
months things progressed as favourably as could be expected ; 
but it was not long before troubles arose and accumulated, 
details of which cannot fail to excite Christian pity and 

The first opposition to Christian instruction was raised by 
the numerous body of heathen priests who lived in the 
vicinity of the volcano. They saw that, as the " Word of 
Jehovah " was attended to, they were no longer either feared 
or fed, and they were aroused to vow death to the " servants 
of Jehovah." To accomplish this purpose they made several 
daring open attempts, from which the brethren were merci- 
fully preserved. 

Another cause of danger was a woTtder-working little 
printing-press, by which the missionaries were multiplying 
books in the language of the people. At this time books 
were looked upon as the " voice of the foreigners' God," and 
their chiefs and priests saw that, as the people attended to 
the books, they lightly esteemed what they formerly held 
sacred; hence their rage against the press, their resolve 
to stop its work, and that the missionaries should either 
leave the island or die. Many anxious days and nights were 
passed, and, as one succeeded another, danger became more 
and more imminent. The enraged savages, like ravening 
wolves, were collecting all their forces, and every day coming 
nearer to the mission premises. The little party of friendly 
natives did all they could to protect the missionaries from 
harm, but they were few in number, and feeble. At length 
even these lost courage, and the two devoted missionaries, 
with their wives, accompanied only by two or three teachers, 
were left alone. 

It was known that the missionaries had in their posses- 
sion a gun; being sure of obtaining this as a means of 

204 Selections front 

protection, a few of the natives came for it. " No, no ! " was 
the reply of the missionaries ; " we cannot give it up/' 
Strange and unaccountable to the minds of the natives was 
this refusal. Again and again they asked for the gun ; but 
"No," was the reply. "We dare not be the cause of 
taking away life* We give ourselves to Jehovah's protection. 
Live or die, we will not allow you to use the gun on our 
account." The crisis now advanced. The flames of burning 
huts and plantations were seen all around. By the light of 
these flames hundreds of naked savages were seen advancing 
nearer and nearer to the mission-house. It was a night of 
agonising anxiety. To remain in the house was certain death 
to the missionaries, and worse than death to their beloved 
wives. Under these circumstances what was to be done? 
They had but one boat ; to this they fled, and, followed by the 
teachers in their Samoan canoe, at midnight they put to sea ! 
About thirty miles eastward was the island of Aneityum, 
where they might gain a temporary rest, could they reach it ; 
but the contrary winds and waves prevented them from steer- 
ing for that island. Eromanga was to the north, but its inhabi- 
tants at the time would have murdered them. The only 
alternative appeared to be a lingering death at sea. Alas I 
in such trying circumstances, how mysterious do the ways of 
Divine Providence appear! Wherefore should the heathen 
be permitted to say, " Where is now your God ? " 

After having resolved to abide at sea for the night, the 
missionary party were driven from their purpose by a series 
of contrary squalls, which compelled them to return to the 
shores of Tanna. Faint with anxiety and toil, they again 
reached their house, about four o'clock in the morning. At 
daybreak, however, just as they had commended themselves 
to God by prayer, and had asked sustaining grace for the 
events of the day, a fiendish yell or war-whoop was heard, 
and hundreds of the natives were close upon them ; for an 
hour or two they were kept from striking the fatal blow, and 
in an unexpected moment shouts of " Sail oh ! sail oh ! " 
were heard, from lips which a moment before were vociferating 
death and destruction. This was " life from the dead " to the 
mission party. The eye of their unslunibering Protector had 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 205 

been upon them, and in the hour of extremity He honoured 
their faith and rewarded their hope. 

' The ship was the " Highlander y' of Hobart Town. Com- 
munication was had with her, and her obhging commander. 
Captain Lucas, received the missionaries on board, and 
brought them to Samoa, and thus for a time this mission was 

More than two years passed before the " John Williams " 
came from England. On her first voyage, she was em- 
ployed in taking back the native teachers to Tanna. Her 
arrival was hailed with delight, not only by the Chris- 
tians, but by many of the very men who had excited the 
persecution in 1843. The war of persecution, which drove 
them away, had terminated in favour of Christianity, and 
two teachers were landed ; but, not long after, their patience 
was tested, and the progress of the mission was again 
retarded, at the season of the year when fever and ague 
prevailed. Pita and Petelo, two teachers, were laid prostrate : 
Pita's child died ; Eangia was ill and was also laid low, and 
Vasa Vaine and two other teachers died. At this time the 
persecution was brought to a crisis by the death of a daughter 
of a chief of one tribe, the son of a chief of another tribe, 
and an influential chief of a third; these events inflamed 
superstition ; and vengeance was again vowed on the " ser- 
vants of Jehovah " 

The Christian party, with a good old man, called Viavia, 
at their head, did all they could to set aside the evil designs 
of the wicked, and to encourage the sickly teachers ; but the 
storm, already high, rose yet higher, and its first burst fell 
on the person of loane. Eecovering from a severe illness, 
he had gone to the hot springs for the purpose of bathing : 
while there, a heathen rushed from behind a bush, and, 
with a blow of his club, struck him to the ground. His 
death was intended, but, assistance being at hand, he 
escaped, and gradually recovered ; but the day of death was 
not distant to one of his devoted companions. One evening 
Vasa, as was his custom, went to the bush, some distance 

2o6 Selections from 

from his house, to pray. While on his knees, a fatal blow 
was struck, and his distressed brethren carried him to his 
grave, not knowing who of them would be the next to fall. 
Writing at this time, one of them says : — ^ We do not know 
what a day will bring upon us ; we do know, however, that 
these can only kill the body ; the soul is in the hands of our 

Before, however, the heathen could finish their deeds of 
bloodshed, God interposed for the teachers. A merchant 
vessel put into the bay for supplies. The captain, hearing 
the teachers' tale of distress, offered to give them a passage 
to the island of Aneityum. A consultation was held by the 
teachers and their native friends, and it was decided that 
they had better retire awlule. They embarked for the pas- 
sage ; but before the vessel got under weigh, the captain sent 
a boat's crew to a distant station, round the coast, to obtain 
more yams. While there a disturbance occurred, and one of 
the crew was killed. This outrage much exasperated the 
captain, and he, with his men, resolved to be revenged. The 
ship's fire-arms were prepared, and powder, in great abun- 
dance, was measured, to be ready for the attack. Alas ! for 
the poor teachers, that they should have been on board ; they 
endeavoured to dissuade the injured captain from his purpose, 
but he would not be satisfied without revenge. In the 
meantime about forty natives, who had not heard of the 
murder of the white man, came off to the ship for purposes 
of barter. These were taken prisoners, and put in the hold. 
Message after message was then sent on shore, announcing 
it as the captain's intention to tire on their village if they 
did not bring to him the body of the unfortunate man. But 
this they could not do, for the very hour it feU into their 
hands it had been cooked ! 

The teachers left the island, and abode awhile on Anei- 
tytim. But so great was the desire of the Christian party for 
their return, that they fitted out canoes and took a voyage to 
that island for the purpose of taking them back ; and, when 
visited twelve months afterwards, the two principal stations 
had been re-occupied, and ' others were ready to receive 
teachers, whom they had formerly ill-treated. 

The ReiK W. GilVs Autobiography. 207 

The following is an extract from a letter, written by one of 
the teachers to the church in Earotonga in 1850 : — 
. " My brethren, blessings on you all from our Lord Jesus 
the Messiah. I and my companions are still alive on Tanna. 
We are continuing to do the work of Jesus in this dark land. 
Our hearts are often crying because of the wickedness of the 
people, but we are not quite destitute of joy. Our work is a 
work of joy, and Jesus is fulfilling His word, ' Lo ! I am 
with you even to the end of the world.* We want more 
brethren to help us. I am now ill. I cannot say what will 
befall me, whether I am to live or to die. Oh, pray for Tanna, 
and send us more help ! " 

This excellent young man died soon after writing the 
above, and one of his fellow-labourers wrote the following 
letter to his father; its record is an evidence of the 
piety and intelligence of these native brethren: — ^''My 
friend Tiotekai, the father of Tumataiapo, and you, his 
brothers and sisters, may you all be united to Jesus the 
Saviour, from whom come streams of consolation. I, Obedia, 
now write to you. I, and your relative, Tumataiapo, have 
dwelt together in this land; but now he is dead, and I am 
left here at my station alone. He lay ill a long time, 
but Jesus was near him. My friends, this is my. message to 
you ; receive it. Do not grieve on his account. He is now 
in the beautiful mansions of heaven with his Master. He 
has rested from his work ; he has gained his reward. Do not 
grieve for him. like him, may you all be united to Jesus as 
branches in the true vine; then you will again see him in joy 
and glory, which will abide for ever." 

Keports of the happy change on Aneityum so inter- 
ested the people of Tanna that many of them recently visited 
that island, and they were much gratified at what they there 
saw and heard. They made a tour of all the stations 
loithout chCb or spear, and returned in delighted astonishment 
at what they saw and heard of the influence of Christianity, 
and were prepared to do all in their power to promote its 
advance on Tanna. 

The time has now come when the claims of Tanna, with 
those of Aniwa and Espiritu-Santo, and the numerous 

2o8 Selections from 

islands of the New Hebrides, demand the presence of 
resident missionaries. To this demand the Presbyterian 
Church of the Lower Provinces of British North America, 
together with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, 
have attended with promptness and liberality. 

On Wednesday, the 23rd of September, 1846, at noon, we 
entered Resolution Bav. Before we had cast anchor our fears 
were increased by the unusual quiet the bay presented. We 
saw numbers of natives sitting in groups on the beach, and in 
the bush, but all were still — no canoe put off, and, above all, 
the mission house erected by the brethren. Turner and Nisbet, 
was not to be seen. Waiting som'e time, we saw two or three 
canoes put off from the shore, i*ow a little distance towards 
us, then return. We then waved a piece of white cloth from 
the boat, and after a little time Lahi, the native who had 
been taken to Samoa, and who was brought back last year, 
came on board, and the report we had heard was to our 
sorrow confirmed. Much disease had broken out among the 
people, for which the teachers were blamed. Some of the 
chiefs were well disposed towards the teachers, but were 
not able to protect them from the violence of the infuriated 



On our way to Tanna, we made the small island of 
Niua, where we had hoped to see the teachers who were 
left here on the last visit. On making the island we sailed 
along the shore until we arrived off the settlement, where 
the teachers were located. We looked for the teachers 
house, which formerly stood on the shore, but could see 
nothing of it — ^neither could we, for some time, see any 
natives. At length we saw a few sitting down among 
the trees, not more than ten or twelve; these, however, 
made no attempt to come off — nor any sign for us to land. 
After waiting some time we were obliged to conclude 
that the teachers were not on shore. We now began to fear 
that the report we had heard respecting the teachers having 
all fled was true, and sailed for Tanna, and thence to Aneityum 
On leaving Aneityum the vessel probably would have returned 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography, 209 

to Niua, but it was considered by Mr. Nisbet, who well 
knows the influence the people of Tanna have, that it would 
not do to leave teachers here while Tanna was abandoned ; 
and, even had we thought it desirable, it was probable no 
teacher would have been willing to stay, owing to the 
reported scarcity of food on the island. 

Visit to Aneityum, 1846. 

On the day after we left Tanna we made Aneityum. Sailing 
off and on the settlement where the teachers were first left, 
we were somewhat surprised at seeing no natives about, and 
were just about to sail for the harbour when we discovered a 
few natives, and a man among them who had on a red shirt. 
Hoping it was a teacher the boat went to the beach, and to 
our joy returned with some of the teachers. 

We had hoped to find something at this station to cheer 
our desponding spirits. This, however, we were not per- 
mitted to realise. We were glad to find that the Tanna 
teachers had reached here in safety, and were all well 
except Eangia, who was ill before he left Tanna, and 
has been getting worse since his residence here. There 
were four teachers placed on Aneityum on the last visit — 
Simiona and Boti at the station in the harbour, and Apaisa 
with Apolo on this side of the island. Simiona and Boti 
gave us to understand that, owing to sickness and other 
untoward circumstances, but little success had attended their 
labours. They said, a fortnight after they went to their 
station Boti's child, who had been left with Apaisa at the 
other station, was taken ill. Boti was sent for. He and 
Simiona went to see the child. The child got better, but 
before they could return to their station they were taken ill 
themselves. Before they left they began to build a house, 
and left Apaisa to finish it. Soon after this loane and 
Vasa came to Aneityum from Tanna to pay the teachers a 
visit. Simiona and Boti came to Apaisa's station to see the 
visitors. After staying some little time the teachers of Tanna 
returned, and Apolo, one of the Aneityum teachers, went back 

with them. Simiona returned to his own station. Then 


2 1 o SelecHom from 

they all became ill of influenza. They all lived together. 
Boti's wife and child died, as also did a child of Apaisa. 
Afterwards, while preparing to return to their own station, 
the teachers came from Tanna. While thus Uving together 
they heard a report that some of the people were angry, and 
designed to kill them. One chief actually beat Boti and 
Simiona. After this, things got a little better ; the people 
were reminded of the promise made by Messrs. Murray and 
Turner that a missionary would come on the return of the 
vessel and live among them. The people said if a missionary 
came and gave them pigs, and allowed them to use his boat, 
it would be very good. If not, he should not stay among 
them. They had constant service on the Sabbath among 
themselves and the family with whom they lived. Sometimes 
many others attend. They had made no attempt to collect a 
children's school. They planted food, and as it grew some 
of the natives stole it. In these circumstances they had 
enough to do to provide for themselves. 

The above is the substance of information gained from Boti 
and Simiona. The other two teachers had but little to add. 
Apaisa said that at their station the people came well 
together on the first few Sabbaths after ttieir landing. But 
he reports their only object was to get what they could. On 
Sabbath afternoons they used to go about to talk with the 
people. These engagements, however, were greatly inter- 
rupted by their frequent illness. 

Unfavourable and depressing as this report was, we were 
pleased to find by the united testimony of the teachers that 
many of the people were friendly, and that they had no fear 
whatever as to the safety of their lives. Their non-success 
may, in a great measure, be attributed to their frequent iUness, 
and, in these circumstances, they were obliged to attend so 
much to their own wants as to prevent their influence being 
much felt among the people of the land. This impression was 
confirmed by an interview we had with some four or five chiefs, 
or principal men, of this side of the island. They aU expressed 
their willingness to receive instniction, and did not wish the 
teachers to leave. Under this state of things, we were 
desirous that some of those teachers who were not disabled 

The Rev, JV. Gt'/l's Autobiography. iii 

by sickness should remain. On proposing this to them, we 
were sorry to find that previous to the arrival of the vessel 
they had had a consultation, and had resolved that, if no 
missionary should come this time, they would all leave. For 
a time we endeavoured to dissuade them from this conclusion, 
but they were firm. Placed in this difl&culty, we asked some 
of the new teachers to recommence the work alone. This 
they refused, on the ground that all the old ones were leaving. 
Having come to anchor between the reef and the shore, 
we were now desirous to get all the teachers on board as soon 
as possible. This being done, we gave the chiefs before referred 
to a present, and, telling them they might expect to be visited 
again at some future time, we weighed anchor, and sailed for 
the harbour on the other side of the island, for the purpose of 
seeing the chief of the district where Boti and Simiona were 

On our passage thither, Upokumanu, one of the teachers 
from Tanna, and another from Earotonga, expressed their will- 
ingness to stay, if we found the chief disposed to receive 

The evening we cast anchor we sent a boat on shore to the 
chief of the station to inform him who we were, and to invite 
him on board. He returned an answer that he felt too indis- 
posed from the effects of "Kava" to come off that evening, but 
would see us in the morning. 

Early the next morning we sent ■ the boat for him. He 
came on board, and was quite friendly. We told him our 
regret at the non-success of the teachers' object who were left 
with him last year ; that now we had, for the time being, 
removed the teachers from the other side of the island ; that 
we were desirous to leave teachers again with him, and would 
now select them if he would promise his protection. He 
replied it was very good; he was quite willing to have 
teachers to live at his station, and would attend to instruction ; 
but his people were now few, and he could not answer for them. 
He would, however, mention one evil — ^perhaps the teachers, 
after remaining a little time with him, would go away to the 
other station as they did formerly. We reminded him that 

sickness was the cause of their so acting. Now there 


2 1 2 Selections from 

were no teachers on the other side of the island, and the 
teachers would promise to remain with him, if he would 
receive them. After this, he gave most willing consent that 
the teachers should stay. 

We therefore appointed Upokumanu and Tumataiapu, and 
were desirous to secure another Barotongan, but, be wishing to 
go on to join Pao at lifu, another application was made to 
Simiona, who had been stationed here at the first. After some 
little time, he said he was willing to stay. Their former 
resolve being thus broken in upon. Pita, from Tanna, expressed 
his willingness to remain also. We gladly availed ourselves 
of these offers, and appointed all four to remain here. In 
coming to this decision, we were influenced not merely by the 
claims of this island, but also by a hope that the two teachers 
from Tanna would, before able to re-occupy that station, 
or at least to have communication with die people of that 

About noon, when all the teachers' goods were ready to be 
sent on shore, we learnt to our surprise that the chief and 
all his party had suddenly taken their departure. Not 
a native was left on board. We could not tell what 
interpretation to put on this movement, but felt sure it 
indicated nothing favourable. After a little consultation 
we sent the boat on shore to say the teachers and their things 
were ready. The chief returned answer that while on board 
he had received a message from the foreigners, who are 
living on the sinall island in the harbour, and connected 
with the Sandal Wood Company established there, that he 
was not to receive teachers. He therefore wished us to take 
a pig to Mr. Murphy, the proprietor, and gain his consent, 
then aU would be well. We returned answer that we had 
nothing to do with the company on the island — neither with 
Mr. Murphy — ^that we had only to do with the chief of the 
land, and, since he was the chief, we would abide by his 
decision. This message being taken to him, he came on 
board, where we again assured him of our sole object, namely, 
to instruct him and his people in the knowledge of the true 
God — ^that we applied to him as the chief of the land to receive 
the teachers, and give them his protection — and that if he 

The Rev, JV, Gill's Autobiography. 213 

were willing to grant this the teachers were willing to go on 
shore. The chief then gave his most sincere pledge that he 
would receive and protect the teachers and attend to instruc- 
tion. Having secured this, we left the island. 

I preserve the following additional particulars copied from 
" The Gems," &c. : — But few of the people understood and 
valued the instruction which they had received, and were 
anxious to retain the teachers ; but the majority, with whom 
were the chiefs and priests, would give no further protection 
to their lives, and we were obliged to receive them on board. 
Sailing round to another station, it was not thought well to go 
on shore ; we therefore sent an invitation to the chief, re- 
questing that he and some of his people would come off to 
the ship. On the following morning a meeting was held. 
Squatting themselves on the quarter-deck we took our seats 
in the midst of them, with Petero, Simiona, and Upokumanu 
as our interpreters; we opened an important discussion — a 
discussion which was to decide the future destinies of the 
people. Should the teachers remain, or must they leave ? — 
that was the question. They were willing to risk the conse- 
quences of remaining, if the chief of the district would pledge 
them his protection. Much had been gained during their resi- 
dence, in the acquisition of the language, in their acquaint- 
ance with the customs of the people, in the hold which they had 
on the hearts of many, and the evidences of conversion in a 
few ; and we felt that this meeting would be the turning-point, 
either in favour of or against a happy consummation, and 
that.the abandonment of the island at such a time could only 
be adopted in the last extremity. It was an anxious hour, 
and I well remember the hope and fear which alternately 
took possession of my mind as I reviewed with the people 
the past, and argued on th^ probable future. Sometimes the 
chief spoke encouragingly about re-occupation, and at others 
hesitatingly, until, at length, he decided the matter by saying 
— '' Let the teachers remain ; I will do my best to protect 
them so long as they dwell in my district ; but if they rove 
abroad to other tribes they will be murdered. But listen to 
me," he continued, " this is the great evil : your ship goes 

2 1 4 Selections frofn 

away, and moon after moon, moon after moon, rises and sinks, 
but you do not return. Other ships " — sandal- wood vessels, 
he meant — " come here and go away, and in two or three 
moons come back again ; but you go away, and," putting his 
head on the deck, he emphatically continued, "we sleep, 
sleep, sleep, but you do not come back again ! " The truth of 
this statement deeply affected us. We would that our 
friends in Australia, who are only three weeks' sail from this 
land, could have so realised the importance of frequent mis- 
sionary visitation as to have then adopted measures for its 
accomplishment. We had to explain the cause of the pro- 
tracted absence of the mission-ship, and were compelled to 
tell them that it was now about to voyage to England, and 
that, in all probability, tv)o years would pass away before it 
could return to them. This was a startling statement to 
these long-neglected yet well-disposed heathen. The 
teachers, however, had confidence in God — their desire was 
ardent — their purpose was fixed; and we resolved not to 
abandon the island. A few supplies of clothing, medicine, 
books, and school material were got ready ; and, commending 
our brethren and their mission to the guidance and blessing of 
God, we landed them. We had many fears, but were not 
without hope that the crisis had turned in favour of Chris- 

Days passed on, and the endurance of the " servants of 
Jehovah" continued; a part of their own house was con- 
stantly used for daily instruction, both by the young and 
the old; and services were held for prayer and praise 
and preaching. The instruction given on those occasions 
was blessed. Eays of Gospel light entered the hearts of 
many, producing fears and convictions which led to anxious 
inquiries—" Who is God ? "— " What is truth ? " and " What 
shall I do to be saved ? " « 

About this time one of the teachers was walking some 
distance from the settlement, and was suddenly surprised by 
hearing a sound of weeping, and language in the tone of 
distress and supplication. Turning aside, and going towards 
the spot whence the sound came, he saw, through the bushes, 
a heathen place of worship. An oblation of food was lying 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 215 

near the altar of sacrifice, and a young man, kneeling on the 
ground, with uplifted eyes towards heaven, was praying to 
his god. " Alas ! " exclaimed the teacher, in relating the cir- 
cumstance, " the compassion of my heart was very great when 
I saw this ; and, waiting until he had finished his prayers, I 
went to him. He knew me, but was surprised to see me 
there. I asked him whom he had been worshipping. He 
said the name of his god was ' Natmas ; * and, pointing to 
heaven, he said : ' He is there.' I then inquired if his god 
heard and was able to answer his prayer, to which he sorrow- 
fully replied that ' Ae did not know ! * " 

How interesting a position for a Christian teacher to find a 
heathen young man in! We are not told what was the precise 
burden which pressed so heavily on his heart ; but he was in 
sorrow ; he had been praying for relief, and had brought in 
his hand a propitiation to his god : under these favourable 
circumstances, the teacher " preached unto him Jesus." While 
the truths of the Gospel were being expounded, an old 
man, the keeper of this heathen temple, joined the company. 
What he then heard induced him to come every Sabbath to 
the station for the purpose of receiving instruction ; his mind 
became enlightened and his heart changed, and he died 
believing in Jesus as his Saviour. He was one of the first 
natives who was buried in the soil of the land. It had been 
usual, from time immemorial, for the people of Aneityum to 
cast their dead into the sea. 

Keviewing the mission on Aneityum at this point in its 
history, we see a more favourable position gained, with less 
difficulties and opposition, than had been known on any 
other island in that group ; and, thus encouraged, the devoted 
teachers write: — "This work of God is a good work. It 
causes happiness to grow in the hearts of those who do it. 
The reign of Satan is giving way, and the Gospel is advan- 
cing. Many of the people have cast away their idols, and 
pray to Jehovah, in their families, at their meals, and in 
private. This is the work of Jesus." 

The success wliich had been gained on Aneityum, together 
with its distance from the eastern groups, rendered it important 
that European missionaries should occupy it as a principal 

2i6 Selections from 

station; and while the native converts of the south were 
preparing the way, God was raising up in the north a labourer 
to occupy the field. The Eev. J. Geddie, D.D., of Nova Scotia, 
about this time was sent out by the churches there as mission- 
ary to the heathen. After remaining six or eight months in 
Samoa, gaining an insight into missionary work, the Bev. 
Dr. Geddie proceeded to Aneityum, where he landed in 
1848. Although much had been done, yet much remained 
to be done and endured by our brother. Few of the popu- 
lation were willing to receive Christian instruction, and a 
small minority gave signs that they were really changed 
characters; but idolatry, superstitious jealousy, and savage 
cruelty were rampant among the tribes. Having, however, 
counted the cost, the missionary gave himself to the work. 
With devoted heart and active hands, he met the dangers 
and difficulties of the mission ; and he has every year had 
to report growing success. Not, indeed, that this success 
has been gained without conflict. In measuring the 
strength of our foes, he writes, " We feel that it is sufficient 
to vanquish any other than a Divine arm. Satan's seat 
is here, and he will not yield his dominion without a 
struggle ; but He who is with us is greater than he who is 
against us." 

Not long after this the struggle commenced with renewed 
vigour. A violent persecution set in against those who 
adhered to the teacher. Finding, however, that this did not 
succeed, the heathen party feiginM an interest in the " new 
religion," and by subtlety and deceit sought to involve the 
mission in ruin. The following will illustrate this : — 

A crafty inland tribe sent a messenger to the missionary, 
inviting him to come to them as soon as convenient, stating 
that they had heard much about the " Word of Jehovah," but, 
as they did not understand it, they wished to be instructed. 
The unsuspecting man, delighted with the prospect, made 
preparation to visit them. The nearest route to the station 
was by boat on the lagoon, inside the reef. A boat's crew 
was selected, and all things were ready; but the morning 
fixed for the journey was too stormy to allow them to pro- 
ceed, and it was resolved to postpone the visit. Some few 

The Rev, W, GilVs Autobiography, 217 

days passed away, and the disappointed heathen Bent another 

messenger, expressing their regret that the missionary had 
not come, but stating that they were desirous to barter some 
native productions for a hog, which they wished to be taken 
inland to their village. Terms were proposed and accepted, 
and four young men of the mission station carried the aiLal 
to its purchasers. These were followed by a young Chris- 
tian who had distinguished himself by his zeal. The 
Christian party had no sooner got into the village before 
the savages fell on them with an intent to murder them all. 
Four of the number escaped, but the other, who was more the 
object of their hatred, because the more decided Christian, 
lost his life, and his body was committed to the oven. There 
can be no doubt, had the missionary gone, he too would have 
been killed. Among other attempts made by the heathen to 
overthrow Christianity was setting on fire the missionary 
premises and buildings erected by the Christians for pur- 
poses of worship and instruction. Houses and huts were 
burnt to the ground, and the chapel was only preserved by 
the vigUance of a nightly watch. An attempt was made in 
this manner to destroy the missionary's house, and himself 
and family in it. He had retired to rest one night, but was 
aroused by the smell and crackling sounds of burning wood. 
Rising in haste from his bed, he gave an alarm to his faithful 
domestics, who, with himself, were just in time to extinguish 
the flaming fagot. 

The custom of strangling widows and others was found 
to prevail to a great extent. It had its origin in their 
belief of a future state. Those who were wives must 
go, they said, when their husbands go, in order to be with 
them in the other world; and those who were servants 
here must go when their masters go, in order to be their 
servants there. This deed was, by law, done by a brother or 
near relative of the victim, and was not confined to widows 
and servants, but mothers, on the death of their unmarried 
sons, would often demand to be strangled, in order to follow 
the departed. 

In one of the sacred groves of the island there stood a 
public altar to the gods. It was held in high veneration. 

2 1 8 Selections frmn 

and the heathen frequently visited it with offerings and 
homage. A Christian native, young in experience, deter- 
mined to be revenged on the system which had caused his 
delusion. Without consultation with his friends, he went to 
this grove, broke down the altar, and with it made a fire 
which cooked his evening meaL This gave great offence to 
the heathen. Another instance occurred with the lads who 
attended the mission school. In the ignorance of the people 
it was considered a great crime to eat food which had been 
placed on the altars as an offering to the gods j such sacri- 
lege was always followed by death. But the boys in the 
school had scarcely gone beyond the alphabet of learning, 
before they cast off all restraint in such matters, and many of 
them wantonly helped themselves to the choicest portions of 
this sacred food. The teacher censured this conduct, and 
enforced caution towards the heathen ; but it- was not in their 
power always to restrain the conduct of those whose minds 
were but just enlightened respecting the absurdities of 

At another time the missionary, assisted by native work- 
men, was making some alteration in his dwelling-house, and, 
not having sufficient wood to complete the work, the men 
went to the mountain districts to cut rafters. In their search 
for materials they came to a grove where it was supposed 
the gods resided, and where, but a year or two before, they 
would not have ventured to set foot. But now, fearless of 
the gods, they wrought heartily with their axes, and, having 
cut down all they wanted, returned to their work in the village. 
The thing soon was noised abroad, and the heathen became so 
filled with horror and rage that they threatened to take away 
the lives of the party concerned. 

These facts show that while the early converts, from prin- 
ciple, abstain from war and other offences against the heathen, 
yet it is often difficult to control their feelings of scorn and 
ridicule towards their idolatrous and superstitious ceremonies. 
The utmost that can be done is to counsel them, and to show 
that the spirit of Christianity is incompatible with evil by 
which such deeds are perpetrated, and that its advance to 
triumph needs not such aid. This the converts soon under- 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 219 

stand, and, after the first years of missionary instruction and 
example, they generally exhibit forbearance under provocation, 
courage under persecution, and love to their enemies. 

A young man and his two sisters had become impressed 
with the folly of heathenism, and, in order to be instructed 
in the Word of God, had taken up their abode with the mis- 
sionary. This much exasperated their relatives, and every 
inducement was presented to cause them to return to their 
former faith and practices. Failing of success, their mother, 
an old heathen, came to the mission-house, armed with 
a murderous club, vowing vengeance on her children, in the 
name of her gods, if they would not come with her to a 
heathen feast. The children were grieved at the folly of 
their mother ; but they feared God, and would not comply 
with her wish. She became enraged, and, had not the mis- 
sionary interposed, would have fulfilled her wicked inten- 
tions. She was told that her children were free to act for 
themselves ; but so long as they decided to remain on the 
mission premises they should be protected. She then left 
them with her curse, threatening to murder them as soon as 
she found them alone. 

It must be remembered that the natives, in their heathen 
state, had no idea of a periodical observance of one day 
above another as a sacred day of rest and worship. All days 
to them are alike. Whenever a Christian teacher lands 
among them, the observance of the first day of each week, 
the "Lord's-day," takes the precedence of the other ordinances 
of Christianity. Its uniform and careful observance by the 
teacher, from the first week of his residence with the people, 
is characteristic and influential — a tangible and unmistakable 
exposition of Christ's death and resurrection practically set 
forth before them. 

One of the first evidences of the Christian teacher's suc- 
cess among a heathen people is to see a few of their number 
preparing their Sabbath-day's food on the Saturday evening, 
and their attendance on the Lord's-day for the worship of 
Jehovah, and to hear His Word translated and expounded. 

In 1852, when I visited this island, after eight years' absence. 

22 o Selections from 

how glorious was the change in this respect ! Each village 
occupied by missionaries or teachers was adorned with a 
commodious "house of prayer," in which the people con- 
gregated, in increasing numbers, to worship God. At eight 
o'clock every Sabbath morning a public service was held, at 
which the people were orderly and attentive. Should any 
impropriety occur iti the conduct of the disaffected, as was 
often the case in former years, it was now followed by such 
marks of disapprobation from the audience as to need no 
remark from the teacher. After this service, the missionary's 
wife gathered together a class of females for catechetical in- 
struction, while her husband held a class for like purposes 
with the males. Some part of mid-day was spent in house- 
hold prayer-meetings, and visits to those who would not 
attend worship. In the afternoon another public service was 
held in the chapel. After singing, reading the Scripture, and 
prayer, a sermon was preached by the missionary, which 
was followed by a short address by one of the natives. 
These islanders, whose heathen character I have been 
describing, are now so far advanced in Christian instruction 
and experience as to meet in such assemblies, and, with the 
entire confidence of the missionary, to address their own 
countrymen on subjects of Christian truth ! 

Equal in importance to Sabbath-day instruction among 
such a people is the establishment of day schools, and the 
conducting of them occupies a large portion of the time and 
labour of the Christian teacher. At first he gets a few per- 
sons to meet him in his house, or under the shade of a tree, 
or on the sea-beach, and there, with limited means, com- 
mences writing single letters of the alphabet, repeating their 
respective sounds in the ears of his astonished pupils, and 
teaching them how to join letter to letter, so as to form 
words in their language. 

Besides these schools for elementary instruction, each mis- 
sionary has a select Bible-class of young men, who, twice or 
thrice a week, receive information which they understand 
and value, and by which they are being prepared to become 
assistants in the further advancement of the mission. 

It was cheering, on my visit to the island in 1852, to see 

The Rev, W, Gill's Autobiography. 221 

three neat buildings erected in the midst of the harbour 
settlement; one a chapel, another the mission house, and 
the other a printing-office, all built by the very men who six 
years before were heathens, some of whom were now assist- 
ing the missionary in the composition and press-work of 
books in their own language. In 1855 three thousand copies 
of the Gospel of St. Mark were printed ; and we are called 
to rejoice to learn that the Bible is now open to another 
tribe of the human family. 


We visited the small island of Fotuna, which is closely 
connected with the mission on Aneityum. After the murder 
of an excellent teacher and his wife by the heathen, the sta- 
tion was left, and before it could be re-occupied the Bishop 
of New Zealand visited it, and took with him two Fotuna 
lads from the island, to be educated in New Zealand. These 
lads returned home in 1852 ; on which occasion the Bishop 
writes : — " To-day we have landed our two Fotuna scholars, 
and have left them in the hands of their relatives with our 
prayers, but with great uncertainty as to their future progress, 
as there are no teachers now on the island. This is one of the 
islands on which the London Missionary Society has ob- 
tained a vested interest, by the death of two of its teachers, who 
were hilled by the natives. We shall be thankful," continues 
the Bishop " to hear that others have been speedily placed 
here." This prayer has been heard and answered. There 
were converts on Aneityum who were anxious to be sent to 
Fotuna. Two of these went to the island, and, after a few years' 
earnest pioneering Christian work, prepared the way for its 
being occupied as a principal station by Eev. J. Copeland, 
of the Presbyterian Board of Missions. Thus, the founders 
of the mission of Aneityum have lived to reap the first- 
fruits of their labours, and are yet sowing seed for a future 
and more extensive harvest. The idols are abolished ; war, 
cannibalism, and heathen orgies are things of the past. 
Aneityum is now added to the trophies of Christianity, and 
its history is a source of encouragement to human eflForts. 

222 Selecftofts from 


On Sunday, 27th of September, at noon, we hove in sight of 
Mar^, and near sunset we were off the station occupied by the 
teachers. A canoe came to the vessel in which were the 
teachers, Tataio and lakobo, and a son of the chief came off to 
the vesseL They remained on board all night, and we obtained 
information respecting the state of things ashore. We were 
sorry to learn that the chief and Taunga, with most of the 
people, were absent on a visit to the island of Lifu, and could 
not be expected to return until a change in the wind ; and 
that the people were not now in so pleasing a state as formerly, 
nor were the prospects so promising for the future. The 
teachers were living with a Tongan family, and these 
were the only individuals who attended services on the Sab- 
bath. The people had, during the past year, been greatly 
afflicted — ^numbers had died, and the people were disposed 
to blame the teachers. This visitation had also been felt 
at Lifu, and the chief there had sent a request to the 
chief at Mar^ to kill the teachers. The chief of Mar^ 
felt disposed to comply with this suggestion, but his sons 
interposed, and they were delivered. The people were now 
restored to comparative health, and there seemed cause to hope 
that better days were at hand. On the Monday morning 
the principal son of the chief at home came to us. We had 
a long conversation with him on the state of things, and said 
we now wished to remove lakobo to Samoa, and to take back 
Taunga to New Caledonia. We were also desirous to leave 
three other teachers, two. Samoans and a Earotongan, to join 
Tataio, and with a view that two of them should, as soon as 
possible, go to some other station on the land. The young 
chief expressed his pleasure at this, and said it was very 
good, and no difficulty would ensue; that we could put 
them on shore now, and as we were bound to lifu we could 
take the information to his father. Things being thus de- 
cided, we appointed Mika, Feli, and Maka. Towards evening 
they were landed among the people, who appeared to receive 
them with pleasure. 

I transcribe some further particulars respecting Mare from 
" The Gems," &c. :— 

The Rev. W. Gilts Autobiography, iii 

The island of Mar^ is in the Loyalty Group, Western 
Polynesia. It is a low reef-bound island, about sixty miles 
west of New Caledonia, and nearly 3,000 mUes from Earotonga. 
The native name is Nengone. It is nearly seventy miles in 
circumference, and has a population of about 6,000 persons. 
These, when first visited by us, were living in practices of 
barbarous heathen life, and were amongst the most degraded 
races of the South Sea Islanders. 

The people of Mar6 believed in the existence of one great 
unseen power or personage, whom they honoured as god. 
They had no carved images, but worshipped this superior 
governing power through the medium of sacred stones and 
wood, and relics of their departed relatives and heroes. 

One of our first Christian teachers on Mar6, after describing 
scenes practised by the people in reference to their cannibal- 
ism, which I cannot write, says :-« These things are so bad 
that in order to believe them you may inquire if I myself 
have seen them done. I tell you, in truth, I see them every 
day ; I am constantly going about in the midst of them. I 
dare not tell you all I see of cannibalism here ; you could not 
bear it. Not only do these people eat bodies taken in war, 
but on occasions of strife and jealousy a father kills his son, 
a son his father, a brother his brother. Alas ! alas ! they are 
more like wild beasts than men." 

Eepulsive, indeed, must have been this state of things 
which so much distressed a Christian islander, whose own 
father, only five-and-twenty years before, was accustomed to 
the same deeds of cruelty. But, looking at the Earotongan 
Christian in contrast with the heathen of Mar^, we see the 
transforming power of the Gospel, and also how it fills the 
heart with a Divine compassion. 

I record details of moral triumphs achieved by the united 
agency of Christian natives from the Samoan and Earotongan 
islands. But in tracing the difficult path through which these 
teachers have had to pass to their present reward, I first 
record some of the many deeds of cruelty which were com- 
mitted in the first contacts of natives with white men. 

In 1841, a boat's crew of six men, belonging to a small 
ship from Sydney, went on shore for the purpose of barter- 

224 Selections from 

ing for sapplies of yams and other vegetables. The crew 
landed on the north side of the island, and, under cover of 
fire-arms, succeeded in concluding their barter on terms of 
comparative friendliness. As the white men were leaving 
the beach, the chief of the district expressed a desire to 
accompany them to the ship. This proposition was reso- 
lutely opposed, and in the hurry and bustle of the boat's 
crew pushing off to sea, one of the oars struck the chief on 
the head. A shout for revenge was immediately raised by 
the natives, a fight ensued, and the six unfortunate white men 
were killed. 

At a later date, an English ship touched at Mar4. One of 
the Christian teachers, then on shore, went off to it, told the 
captain of the former massacre, and urged him not to land. 
This advice, however, was not heeded ; a boat's crew was 
sent to the beach, and at the same time a number of the 
natives were admitted on board the ship. A premeditated 
signal was given, a simultaneous attack was made by the 
natives, and ten white men were murdered in the affray ! 

The first Christian teachers who landed on Mar^ were two 
educated, intelligent natives from Barotonga and Samoa. 
Two years after their landing it was pleasing to find that a 
favourable impression was being made on the minds of the 
people in favour of Christianity. The teachers were per- 
mitted to build themselves a house, which, being finished, 
stood in palpable contrast to the wretched hovels of the 
people. This was the first appearance of civilisation. A large 
space in the centre of the building was set apart for week- 
day instruction and-Sabbath-day preaching. The teachers in 
erecting this house were assisted by many of the young men, 
who saw with wonder how materials so nigh at hand could, 
by the proper use of the saw, and adze, and plane — ^tools 
which they had never before seen — be formed into so com- 
modious a dwelling-place, and also into desirable articles of 
furniture and domestic use. 

In a class of heathen youths gathered together for daily 
instruction, there were two sons of Jeiue, the old chieftain of 
the district. These two young men soon became deeply 
interested in the instruction they received, and were raised 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 225 

up by God to protect their instructors, when the rage of their 
heathen father would have destroyed them. Before, how- 
ever, much progress could be made in educating the people 
of Mar^, the teacher had to learn their language. This was 
no easy task. In the eastern groups there are different 
dialects of the same language, but in these western groups 
the language is quite different from the eastern, both in its 
roots, idioms, and pronunciation. 

In 1846, accompanied by several Christian teachers, I 
left Sarotonga in our ship, and, calling at Samoa, where I 
was joined by the Eev. H. Nisbet, sailed to Mar^. On 
approaching the island we saw hundreds of the wild, naked 
heathen population running along the beach, or dancing 
through the cocoa-nut groves in the utmost state of frenzy, 
and so loud was the yelling as to be distinctly heard by us 
on board. 

Arrivii*^ off the settlement, where teachers had been 
landed two years before, we were cheered by seeing one of 
them coming off to us in a canoe, and were glad to find him 
accompanied by the two sons of the chief. Much encouraging 
progress had been made, yet it was not deemed prudent for 
the ship to come to an anchor, nor that we should trust our- 
selves on shore. The lives of the teachers were safe, yet such 
was the wildness of the masses of the people that no 
dependence could be placed on them for the security of 
life, for even our clothes might present a temptation to 
them to commit acts of violence. The teachers had learned 
the language, and the people now better understood the 
object of our visit. 

Gaining much valuable information respecting the people, 
at the latter end of 1848, Jeiue, the chief, was taken ill, and 
soon after the attack severe symptoms of dropsy were de- 
veloped ; day by day he grew worse, and, as is usual, alike in 
uncivilised and civilised lands, the serious illness of a chief 
was a season of public anxiety. Every available means for 
Jeiue's recovery was resorted to; offerings of food, and 
charms, and prayers were religiously attended to by the 
priests ; but they were of no avail ; the old man continued to 

grow worse. The Christian teachers, too, did all they could 


226 Selections from 

to relieve his sufferings and to instruct his mind. They said, 
" Alas ! alas ! for the parent chief, Jeiue ; our compassion 
towards him is great. We see him every day ; we talk with 
him about the Gospel of Jesus ; we give him what medicines 
we have, but he gets no better ; Jeiue must die ! " 

During this sickness the disconsolate sufferer manifested 
more mental distress than is usually seen in a heathen. He 
often expressed a wish that *' he had died ten years before." 
And why ? Alas 1 the light of Divine life and love had been 
shining around him, but he had opposed its entrance into his 
heart. He had loved darkness, and now, stung by an upbraid- 
ing conscience, he must die ! 

As his end drew near, the faithful Christian instructors 
never left him; and to them the self-condemned man un- 
veiled the bitterness of his soul, in the review of his 
idolatry, his heathen practices, and opposition to the Gospel. 

In a moment of comparative repose, he said to his sons, 
*' I have been wrong in my opposition to the Word of 
Jehovah; attend you to my advice, and continue as you 
have begun ; Ut the heathenism of our family die with me" 
To questions proposed to him it was pleasing to find 
that, even at the eleventh hour, the dying sinner acknow- 
ledged that "Jesus was the only Saviour:" to every an- 
nouncement made to him of the love of God, and of His 
willingness and power to save, he bowed an emphatic assent, 
and his last words were, " Jesus is the only Saviour." Thus 
died Jeiue. His sons determined to bury him with Christian 
burial, and selected a cave in a rock facing the sea as the 
place of interment. The coffin was fastened to the ground 
by many lengths of cable chain belonging to one of the English 
ships, which had been cut off by the old man's commands a 
few years before. 

Soon after the death of Jeiue, his eldest son made known 
his determination that heathenism and idolatry should no 
longer reign in his district, that he and hia brother had given 
themselves to Jehovah, whom they believed to be the true 
God, and that they intended to use their influence to establish 
His worship throughout the island. 

The house of prayer, commenced under circumstances of so 

The Rev. W, GilFs Autobiography. 22y 

much interest, was finished early in 1851, and the people 
waited three months after its completion, hoping the mission 
ship would bring a missionary to take part in the opening 
services. At length, weary of delay, they resolved to open 
it themselves. A day was fixed, and an invitation was sent 
to the tribes of the districts, which was very generally ac- 

Eeferring to this event the teachers say, " This was a day 
of much joy ; our hearts were glad. Early in the morning 
messengers were sent to proclaim the joyful occasion, each 
one calling out as he went, 'Brethren! come, come to the 
opening of the house of Jehovah; come, the house is fim'shed; 
the feast is ready, come.' 

Obeying the joyful summons, tribe after tribe came to the 
new settlement, and, with emotions as new and as peculiar as 
the circumstances, attended the opening services of this house 
of prayer. At an early hour hundreds of visitors had arrived. 
More than a thousand entered the building. The honoured 
teachers were there. Many had been the years of toil through 
which they had passed, and none can realise the amount 
of trial and privation which they had endured ; and none can 
know the joy they felt while they stood in the midst of 
the large assembly in this chapel, raised by their own 
industry, and aided by a people who, a few years before, 
were heathen ! 

In 1848 I printed at the Mission Press, Earotonga, a 
number of school books, and Scripture extract books, in the 
language of Mar^. These were invaluable during the years 
of pioneering work, and, in writing to me, the teachers 
urgently requested another and a more varied supply. They 
say, " Our want of books is great. The people much desire 
to learn. Alas ! how long a time we have to wait before we 
shall get any. Oh, that we had a press near, to print speedily 
the books we need, in the language of this people ! " 

One moonlight night in June, 1852,after an absence of nearly 

two years, the children of England's missionary ship again 

visited Mar^. It cast anchor in a fine bay on the south-east 

side of the island, near the station where the second chapel 

was built. A great and good change had taken place on the 


228 Selections from 

island since its last visit — a change for which the missionaries 
had often prayed, and which they now rejoiced to witness. 
About seven o'clock in the morning, looking on shore from 
the vessel, crowds of natives were seen travelling along the 
beach towards the chapel ; it was Sabbath-day ; they were 
goii^ to the early morning prayer-meeting. The building, 
the people, and everythipg seen from on board the vessel were 
involved in mystery, until the excellent and faithful teachers 
came off, and related, as well ae their excited feelings would 
allow, the experiences through which they had passed since 
the departure of the missionary ship. 

The Rev. Messrs. Murray and Sunderland, accompanied by 
Captain Moi^n, went on sliore to attend the forenoon service. 
The missionaries preached by the teachers, who acted as 
interpreters. Owing to the former desperate character of 
these people, but few captains of merchant ships had yet 
visited their shores, hence but few of the congregation were 
clothed ; some of them had a single garment over their 
shoulders, others had on native cloth which had been sent to 
them by the churches in Samoa and Baiotonga, but the large 
majority had nothing but plaited leaves or bark to cover 
themselves. After the service, the brethren visited the 
schools ; two hundred children were present, being taught 
by the more advanced young men and women. 

Eemainii^ three days at this station, the missionariea 

went to the settlement where the first chapel was built; 

here the change seen in the character and habits of 

the people was still greater. A few years ago they 

were a wild cannibal race, at war amongst themselves, 

and aiming to murder every white man who approached 

their shore. Now they are repentant, docile, humble, and 

anxious to be instructed. Here was a good chapel 120 

feet long, neatly seated with good benches, in which were 

— I ™«»« *i,„^ ™ t\.^„.^^A "atives for the worship of God. 

ith the greatest order and atten- 

rere well attended ; daily schools 

idividuals had been baptized and 

candidates. Instead of the thorn 

! fir-tree, and instead of the brier. 

The Rev, W, GilVs Autobiography, 229 

the myrtle-tree. The people had built a large, commodious 
dwelling-house, hoping soon to welcome a missionary from 
England who should take up his residence amongst them. 
This house was fifty-four feet long, thirty feet wide ; walls 
fourteen feet high ; it had a spacious verandah, Venetian blinds, 
and six convenient rooms — the workmanship of the natives, 
and built expressly for a missionary residence. 

A complete revolution has taken place in the entire 
framework of society. Hundreds of the people can now 
read the Word of God ; hundreds more are learning, a great 
number of whom are anxiously seeking the salvation of their 


On the morning of the 29th of September we were close off 
Llfu. We hoped to have seen the teachers early, but a strong 
wind blowing on shore prevented this. A canoe in coming off 
got swamped ; we lowered the boat to render assistance ; and 
doing this, our vessel got somewhat in danger by being drifted 
too close to the lee shoi-e. 

Towards noon Pao, one of the teachers, came off, accom • 
panied by Bula, the principal chief. Pao gave us an account 
of his labours among the people. 

The teachers have confidence that the Word of God will 
prosper here ; and that even now missionaries might, not 
only without danger, but with almost sure success, live among 
the people. The power and authority of the chief are very 
great, and at present decidedly in favour of the introduc- 
tion of the Gospel. 

In our conversation with the chief, we told him of our 
pleasure at the, present success, and urged him to give all 
attention to the truths of the Gospel ; that it was his duty 
to use influence to prevent war, and to leave off some of 
their old customs ; that Jehovah is a God of love, and 
designs His Word to bless all people; that therefore our 
object was not only to do good to Jm party, but bless all 
the triles of the land. We told him that, if agreeable, we 
were ^desirous to remove Jona to Samoa to receive further 

230 Selections from 

instruction, and to leave three other teachers to unite with 
Pa6 until the return of the vessel. He replied that he 
was quite willing, and much pleased at what we had told 
him ; I left three teachers on the island. 

The first Englishman of whom we have any knowledge as 
taking up his abode with the people of lifu proved unworthy 
of his country. By deeds of appaUing depravity he much 
impeded our efforts to introduce Christianity. 

This Englishman was a son of a most respectable Christian 
family in this country. From his birth he had had the 
pious example and instruction of his excellent parents, and 
his character was then as promising as that of many youths 
in such circumstances. But uniting himself to lads oi 
immoral practices, he became impatient of the restraints of 
his well-ordered home and of his friends. Efforts were macfe 
to check his onward career in vice, but its force accumulated 
on him, until, to the sorrow of his relatives, he resolved to go 
to Australia. Mingling with bad company during the voyage, 
he landed on those distant shores more confirmed in wicked- 
ness than when he left his father's house. For some time he 
remained there, and gave himself up to the excess of vicious 
pleasure, untU at length he engaged himself as a seaman on 
board a trading-vessel bound to Western Polynesia. On 
the ship's amval at Llfu, the reckless young man determined 
to take up his abode with its savage inhabitants. He landed 
among them, and gained their favour by giving away his 
clothes, and adopted their mode of roving abroad in a state 
of comparative nudity. Without restraint he delighted in 
the practice of all the abominations of the heathen; he 
assisted the tribe with whom he lived in their cruel warS; 
and revelled with them in their feasts ! When the missionary 
ship first visited the island, this Jieathen white man came to it 
in a canoe, as wild as the wildest, and more detestable to look 
on than they. 

Although not more than one- third of the heathen tribes had 
been visited, and even the great mass of the people where 
the teachers lived were still heathen, yet a large building had 
been erected as a " house of God," in which a goodly number 
of natives met every morning for Christian instruction, 

The Rev, W- Gill's Autobiography, 231 

several of whom were sufficiently advanced to take part, in 
the services of the Sabbath. 

One of the most interesting characters I saw was Bula, the 
chief of the district. He was about five-and-thirty years 
old ; for some years he had been afflicted with total bUndness. 
From the first landing of Pa6, Bula had been his friend, and 
noAv he had made considerable advance in Scriptural know- 
ledge and Christian experience. Through his example and 
influence, the first blow was given which led to the over- 
throw of heathenism and the subjugation of the people to 
the Gospel of Christ. 

Bula much regretted that his tribe would not cease to war 
with that of the other side of the island, and he was fre- 
quently pained with the conduct of the warriors, who brought 
the bodies of their victims before him, inviting him to do as 
in former days. These deeds he reproved with indignation, 
mingled with Christian mildness, always affirming that he had 
become a " praying man to Jehovah," that he would have no 
more to do with heathen practices; he assured the people 
that the time would come when they would mourn over 
their wickedness and folly. Bula visited the mission ship ; 
I had long conversations with him, and was delighted with 
his behaviour. 

The children of the Samoan mission school, having heard 
of the love and zeal of the children in England in purchasing 
the " John Williams " as a missionary ship, were stimulated 
by their example, and resolved to purchase a supply of 
" missionary canoes," for the use of the destitute teachers in 
Western Polynesia. Twenty of these canoes were put on 
board the mission ship at Samoa, and, as the Lifu canoes were 
much inferior to those of Samoa, we gave Bula one. He 
could not see it, but his mild countenance, made more so by 
the benign influence of the Gospel, bespoke the feelings of 
his heart, while, with his hands, feeling over every part of 
it, he frequently exclaimed, " Alas ! the greatness of their 
compassion to us. This is one fruit of the Word of Jeho- 
vah ! " 

When visited again in 1852, it was indeed pleasing to see 
the great change which had come over the people— their bodies 

232 Selections from 

were clothed, their wildness was subdued, and their whole 
demeanour bore witness to the civilising influences of the 
Word of God. It is not easy to describe the feeling of 
grateful surprise which filled our hearts as we landed in 
the midst of a well-ordered settlement, where but a few 
years before deeds of cruelty and bloodshed were rampant, 
and as we saw the laige commodious stone chapel standing 
on the very spot wheie Satan's seat -was — ^all the result, 
through God, of native instruction and labour. The chapel 
was cffM hundred ft/A long, forty feet wide, and the walls 
three feet thick. Besides being well furnished with seats, 
it had a pulpit, reading-desk, doors, and neat Venetian 
blinds over the windows, all of which was their own work. 

As far as their limited means of books would allow, the 
people were being taught, and a goodly number were able 
to read fluently. Thru hwndred persons were in select 
classes for Biblical instruction, whose lives were in outward 
conformity to the requirements of Christianity; and not a 
few were engaged in teaching their fellow-countrymen, and 
in taking part in conducting religious services. In reply to 
inquiries of an intelligent native about getting a missionary 
to live among them, he was told that one would come some 
day; he rejoined, " Say not some day — I do not like to hear 
that word some day; why not say to-day t" Truly the 
fallow ground has been broken up — ^the seed has been scat- 
tered; the fields are already white unto the harvest; but, 
alas ! the labourers are few. The call for European mission- 
aries to reside on this island, to advance the work thus 
begun, was loud and imperative. 


After a day's sail we made the leeward of Uvea — 
an unbroken chain of reef islands, fix)m one to two 
miles round. There are dangerous openings from island to 
island. Sailing far round in search of an entrance into the 
lagoon, at length we resolved to make a trial, and get in 
between two of the little islands, about four or five ship's 
lengths one from the other. Just as we got between the 

The Rev, IV. Gill's Autobiography. 233 

islands, our dangers increased. We found the shallows ex- 
tend farther to the middle than we had expected, and the 
vessel labouring against a heavy head-wind and a short, 
broken swell, occasioned by a strong current running against 
the wind. We were glad, therefore, to back out again, and 
thankful that we sustcdned no damage. We were thus 
obliged to abandon our design of visiting the islanders of 
Uvea in 1846. Subsequently, however, teachers were landed, 
and were so successful that for some years it has been occu- 
pied by the Eev. S. EUa. The language has been learnt, the 
Scriptures are being translated, a church has been gathered, 
and daily schools are well attended. 

New Caledonia. 

New Caledonia is one of the largest islands of Western 
Polynesia, being nearly three hundred miles long and seventy 
or eighty miles broad. It was discovered by Captain Cook 
in 1744. The first attempts to instruct and to civilise its 
inhabitants were made in 1841 by Eev. E. Murray, who 
succeeded in landing two native teachers. The '* Camden*/ in 
which, we first went to these islands, was taken out of its in- 
tended route, owing to the death of the Eev. John WiUiams, 
so that it did not return to New Caledonia for more than two 
years after the landing of the teachers. Then, to our grief, 
it was found that one of them, after a few weeks' residence, 
had died. The other had made good progress in the language, 
and had gained a favourable hold on the minds of the tribe 
with whom he lived. He was encouraged by a reinforce- 
ment of two teachers. The ship " Camden " came to 
England, and her successor, the ''John Williams*/ did not 
reach the island until two years after. These delays were 
unavoidable; but it was hoped that the missionary 
auxiliary formed in Australia would secure more frequent 
visitation. Could this have been done years ago, I should 
not have to record the painful reverses, the long-continued 
struggles, the desolating calamities which overtook this 

In recording the events which took place on his landing, 

234 Selections from 

Taunga, a Earotongan teacher, writes : " The Word of God 
is growing in this land of New Caledonia. Many of the 
people have learnt to read, and are attentive to worship every 
Sabbath. A few days ago a heathen came to me to inquire 
about casting away his idols. I told him an idol is nothing 
at all; that Jehovah is the true God; that He made the 
heavens, the earth, and all things ; that He had pitied us in 
our sins, and had sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our 

This man, after the above conversation, brought his idols 
to the teachers, and requested that they would bum them. 
A few of the people were gathered together ; the man publicly 
gave up his false gods, and the teachers addressed the 
assembly somewhat as follows : " Brethren, you see this your 
countryman has given up his gods : they are no gods, but 
idols; he wishes us to burn them." While he was thus 
speaking, one of the crowd rushed in, and bore away the 
rejected gods, and thus saved them from being destroyed. 

As the idols had been brought to the teachers to be burnt, 
it was well that they convened this public meeting, for by it 
they relieved themselves from an act which might have 
brought on them the revenge of the heathen party. The 
man who gave up his idols remained steadfast under Christian 

About this time a c/ymet was seen night after night rising 
higher and higher over their land. From time immemorial 
these " long-tailed stars" had heen to the people evil omens 
of disease, and war, and death ; and, strange to say, just as the 
comet now seen became visible on New Caledonia, a very 
general and fatal sickness prevailed. The heathen, supposing 
it to be the "fire of Jehovah," vowed vengeance on the 
teachers of His religion, and combined their forces to extir- 
pate both them and their converts. 

On the island known as the Isle of Pines there lived a 
dominant tribe whose chief, Mathuku, was one of the most 
wild, savage, despotic men known, even in Polynesia. He 
had frequently sent his messengers to the natives of the dis- 
trict where the teachers lived, demanding that they should 
be put to death. Finding his orders were not obeyed, he 

The Rev, W. Gill's Aulobiography. 235 

sent his last command, saying, ''If you do not kill the 
Samoan and Barotongan men, I will come and kill them and 
you too." With this intention, he came, followed by a 
number of his warriors, armed with spears and clubs. 
Taunga says : *' The people of our settlement wished us to 
flee to the mountains and hide ourselyes ; but we said, ' No ; 
Jesus is our mountain, we will fly to Him.' On the day 
appointed, it was arranged that nine or ten of the savages 
should come to the teacher's house, and commence a discus- 
sion about the resurrection of the dead. As the discussion 
advanced, one of the party, pointing to some graves near, 
demanded of the teachers, in an angry tone, 'When will 
these men live again ? ' With mingled positiveness and 
kindness, the teachers replied, ' They wiU live s^n at the 
end of the world Jesus, the Son of God, wiU come, and 
all who have lived wiQ live again, and will be judged ; those 
who have loved Him will then live with Him in heaven for 
ever.' 'By this we know you are deceivers,' rejoined the 
heathen ; ' and we will now kill you. You are liars.' " Upon 
this, four men rushed forward; one of them seized Noa's 
right arm in his left hand, and raised his club to strike the 
fatal blow. Another stood behind Taunga, his intended 
victim. The teachers bowed their heads, and calmly re- 
signed themselves into the hands of God. All was ready. 
It was as though the deed was already done. But the man 
on whose nod it depended silently signified "Not yet," 
and the crisis turned in favour of the devoted teachers. 
Would that the missionary ship could have visited this 
island just as this great conflict began. Many months 
passed away before it again came ; and, when it did arrive, 
persecution and distress had increased so much that it was 
not deemed safe for the teachers to remain. They were 
quite willing to remain — ^yea, they wept much on being 
taken on board; but, being assured that the heathen party 
had fully made up their minds to murder them, the mis- 
sionary did not see it his duty to consent. 

Subsequent events justified the worst apprehensions. Soon 
after the removal of the teachers, the people of the Isle of 
Pines maintained a desperate war with those of the southern 

236 Selections from 

portion of New Caledonia; they slew nearly the whole of 
the natives who had professed attachment to Christianity, 
and the waniors were seen by a captain of awhaling ship 
returning to their homes in the horrid revelling of heathen 
victoiy, with the sculls of the slain stuck on high poles^ and 
their fingers, in almost endless number, hung on strings 
around the necks of the warriors of the conquering tribe. 

As I approached this land, in 1846, having on board the 
banished teachers, and desirous to renew attempts to bless 
its people, all was silence and desolation. The entire settle- 
ment had been destroyed by fire; the grass, the bush, and 
even the lofty cocoa-nut trees were yet black as coal, and 
not a single native was seen. Some distance inland the 
smoke of fire was ascending, which confirmed the opinion 
that the district was yet in the hands of the enemy, and that 
they were lurking in secret to decoy us on shore. 

There were on board two Christian natives of New Cale- 
donia, who had followed the teachers. Poor feUows ! with the 
teachers, they refused to be comforted when they found they 
were not able to land. 

On leaving this island we were for some time in great 
danger. At high tide we had sailed over a sunken reef, 
which was impassable at low tide, and toward evening we 
were inside the reef, with little or no wind. We had to sail 
some three miles to the south before we could get out to 
the open sea. Had we not gained that point we should have 
been in the hands of the cruel, blood-thirsty natives during 
the night. But in mercy we gained the outlet about an 
hour after sunset 

Isle of Pines. 

On leaving New Caledonia we saw the Isle of Pines, arid 
we wish we could have had intercourse with the natives ; but 
the door was not open. The following are notes of its mission 
history : — 

The Isle of Pines is an important island, about thirty miles 
from the north-east end of New Caledonia. It is covered 
with beautiful ^n«-trees, from which circumstance Captain 
Cook gave it its name ; the native name is Korie. For some 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 237 

time past it has been one of the principal sandal-wood depots 
of Western Polynesia, and it may be considered the seat of 
political power for the south end of New Caledonia. 

The mission ship " Camden" five months after the murder 

of Messrs. Williams and Harris on Eromanga, visited this 

island ; two Christian teachers were landed among its people. 

Some time afterwards a number of vessels were fitted out, the 

services of the party referred to were secured, and the quiet 

little island, hitherto almost unknown, became a scene of 

bustle and excitement ; and in not a few instances the covet- 

ousness and immorality of this heathen people were iacreased 

before the corrective influences of Christianity had been 

brought to bear on the population. While, however, we were 

yet hoping to overtake these evils by our native agency, by 

more frequent visitation, and ultimately by the residence of 

an English missionary, a disastrous circumstance occurred 

which for the time frustrated our plans. 

Difficulties having occurred between the natives and some 
sandal- wood traders, the natives became so enraged that they 
determined to be revenged on the foreigners by destroying 
their ship. 

An opportunity too soon occurred in which to carry out 
their purpose. They took to the vessel a quantity of the 
wood, carrying with them their adzes which they use in 
dressing the wood. The wood was immediately bought, and 
the natives were allowed to remain on board to grind their 
adzes. One of the crew was turning the grindstone, and the 
captain stood close by; at a given signal, a native swung 
round his adze, and struck the captain dead on the spot, and 
in a few minutes seventeen of the crew were killed. The ship 
was then stripped of saQs and rigging, everything was taken 
out of the cabins, and then it was destroyed by fire. In this 
massacre our devoted teachers were murdered. 

One of the Earotongan teachers who fell on the Isle of 
Pines was Eangi. He was the only chUd of his widowed 
mother. She, at some sacrifice, being a poor woman, had 
willingly given him up to the cause of Christ and of His 
Gospel. When information reached us respecting her son's 
murder by the heathen, I well remember her heroic Christian 

238 Selections from 

devotedness. She wept, and wept much, as any mother 
would weep ; but after the first burst of her distressed heart 
had been relieved she tried to wipe away the tears as they 
involuntarily rolled down her cheeks, and she said, " It is 
not wrong to weep, for he was my son ; but I do not weep 
tears of sorrow for him. No ; my Bangi is with Jesus ; he 
has fought a good fight ; he is now crowned by his King in 
glory. Oh, that I had another son ! I would give him up 
to go among the heathen men who murdered my Eangi. 
They are dark as we were before we understood the Word 
of God." 

Savage Island. 

We had three weeks' tedious voyage from New Caledonia 
before we reached Savage Island. We had brought with us 
a native of the island, Beniamina, a man who had been 
taken to Samoa in a whaling ship, and there had been 
educated and made a profession of Christianity. 

As soon as possible we held a conference with the chief 
from shore on board our missionary ship. It appeared 
that they could not hastily consent that either a Barotongan 
or Samoan should reside amongst them, but that Beniamina 
had better go on shore, and teach them as far as he knew, 
then they would better understand what was meant, and 
be prepared to give a final reply on the next visit of the 
ship. Thankful for their decision, we acceded to their pro- 
position: a good supply of books, clothes, and tools was 
given to Beniamina, and, commending him to the protec- 
tion and blessing of God, he landed in the midst of his wild 
heathen countrymen. Thus, after sixteen years' repeated 
visitation and intercourse, we were permitted to leave with 
this people a Christian pioneer — to teach the Gospel of 

It will readily be conceived that it was not without much 
apprehension respecting the safety of the teacher that the 
missionary again visited the shores of Savage Island; but 
his fears were dispelled; the life of Beniamina had been 
spared ; a little Ught had entered into the minds of a few 
of the people through his instruction ; and, whilst they had 

The Rev, IV. Gill's Autobiography. 239 

to make much advance, yet they were more kindly disposed 
than on former occasions, and were willing to receive 
another teacher as soon as one could be sent to them. This 
position, however, had not been gained without toil, trial, and 

When the teacher first went on shore, he took with him a 
box of clothes. This the natives requested should be sent 
back to the ship, for they were afraid it would bring sick- 
ness to their land. " But I am one of yourselves," reasoned 
the teacher, " a man, and no god ; and the wood of the box 
is the same which grows here." Impatient of restraint, many 
of the wild crowd gathered around him, and proposed to 
kill him. With calmness he explained the object of his 
mission, and, not knowing the moment he would be struck 
to the ground, he knelt down in the midst and prayed. 

A few, touched with compassion, wished to spare him, but 
others insisted on his being put to death. " Let us do it nowl' 
they said ; " let us do it now, while he is alone ; by-and-by 
others will join him, and it wiU be more diflBlcult." 

After a time, a few of the people ventured to receive him ; 
general confidence increased, and the number who hstened to 
and believed his reports about the Word of God daily 

On a subsequent visit, my brother, the Eev. George 
Gill, reported that things had advanced with surprising 
rapidity. Good chapels had been built, schools were 
organised, and the stations were attended to. He gathered 
the Christians into church fellowship, and, with but very few 
exceptions, heathenism was abandoned throughout the land. 
The island is now occupied by the Rev. W. G. Lawes and bis 
brother. There are 1,183 members in church fellowship, and 
more than 2,500 young people and adults under daily instruc- 
tion. At this time they sent a contribution to the funds of the 
London Missionary Society of 13,237 lbs. of picked cotton, 
2,934 lbs. of cocoa-nut fibre, 4,374 lbs. of arrowroot, and 1,000 
yams, which realised the sum of £340. Their villages are 
being instructed by their own educated countrymen, and 
already they have sent two evangehsts to the distant Lagoon 
Islands beyond Samoa ! 

240 The Rev, IV. GilVs Autobiography. 

Such is "Savage** Island. Eighty-two years ago it was 
discovered by Captain Cook ; iot: fifty-six years after its dis- 
covery it was left to its heathenism ; the first visit of mercy 
was made to it in 1830; and, during the space of sixteeti years, 
frequent and unsuccessful attempts were made to induce 
the people to receive a Christian teacher. This was accom- 
plished in 1846; the subsequent /i;e years were years of toil 
and faith in the midst of trial and persecution ; and now, 
as a result of those labours, we have, on this once Savage 
Island, the whole of the people under the influence of the 
Gospel of Christ, 

Eeturn to Rarotonga. 

Having finished our visitation of the heathen islands west- 
ward we set sail for Samoa. We had now been sixteen weeks 
on board, and had visited most of the islands of New Hebrides, 
Loyalty, and New Caledonia Groups, and had located twenty- 
one native teachers among those heathen islanders. We 
made TutuUa on 29th of October. We were desirous to 
enter the harbour ; but the wind failed us at 4 p.m., and from 
that time till 10 p.m. we were in imminent danger of being 
carried by the rolling swell on the reef-bound shore ; at one 
time we had the breakers close to the stem of the ship. The 
ship's boats were out at the bows making efforts to tow 
her off; but all without success, till at 10 p.m., just at the 
extremity of peril, a light wind sprang up, and took us fairly 
out to sea. 

On the morrow and next day we had intercourse by boats 
with the people at Tutuila and Leone, and then sailed eighty 
miles to Upolu, and once more cast anchor in Apia harbour. 

We remained at Samoa three weeks, visiting the stations 
and holding meetings with the missionary, giving reports of 
our voyage, &c. 

On the 2nd of December, 1846, we went on board,and received 
the children of Mr. Hardie and others who were destined for 
England, and on December 26th we were permitted to land 
on Rarotonga. We had been absent six months, five mgnths 
of which were spent on board. 





This most trying and eventful year (1846) closed by the 
departure of £ev. Mr. and Mrs. Buzacott for England. On 
landing, after our long absence^ we found our Mends quite 
Teady for their voyage. On Sunday, 27th December, we held 
•a farewell service at Avarua, and on the following Tuesday 
our friends embarked on board the " John Williams.** 

Our revision work of the Barotongan Scriptures had been 
much interrupted during the past year ; but it was thought 
desirable that Mr. Buzacott should take the whole manuscript 
.and printed portions with him, with a view of completing 
the work, so as to get it printed during his stay in England. 

Thus I was practically left in charge of the whole work of 
the island, with its churches, stations, institutions, schools, 
and printing-office. The Eev. C. Pitman was at the distant 
station of Ngatangiia, but was too infirm to take any share 
in the work of the mission, except in guiding the affairs of his 
own district. 

The prospect often made us fear; but, through the help 
and mercy of God, we, day by day, were enabled to meet the 
duties of each as it came. 

January, 1847, opened as usual with devotional services 
at all the settlements ; and we began to realise the variety 
and importance of the work committed to our hands — the 
restoration of the villages from the devastations of the late 
hurricane ; the care and education of students in the institu- 
tion ; the superintending of the printing-office ; the care of the 
churches and schools, and the general oversight of the people. 

At first we could not realise that we were to be left to carry 


242 Selections from 

on this work alone for more than/v« ytars. We had, how- 
ever, been gradually prepared for it, and were much assisted 
by the kindness and efforts of many of the native teachers 
and people of the churches. 

E.'s feeble health was a cause of great anxiety. For more- 
than twelve months after the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Buza- 
cott, she was often almost prostrate with pain. But God helped 
us day by day to plod on with our work, and in the review 
we wonder at the amount got through during these five 
years, from January, 1847, to January, 1852. 

Amid our general mission duties one of the first things that 
occupied our time and attention was advising and airanging^ 
with the people for the rebuilding of chapels, schools, and 
houses destroyed by the gale in 1846. It must be remem- 
bered that the work of each settlement had to be recom- 
menced ; every chapel and mission-house, and almost every 
native dwelling, was in ruins ; but before these could be 
attended to the plantations had to be cleared and replanted, 
which, with the greatest industry, did not yield a sufficient 
supply to meet the wants of the people for six or eight 
months afterwards. 

For many months the people at the several stations gave a 
large portion of their time to their plantations, and at the 
close of the year were permitted again to rejoice in an 
abundance of food. The villages, however, were not so soon 
restored — it was a great work ; yet by patience and regular 
labour it was done. Temporary huts and houses were first 
erected ; but, being convinced of the importance of more 
substantial buildings to withstand these periodical storms, the 
people resolved to build strong stone houses, in the accom- 
plishment of which they spared no time or labour. As an 
illustration I mention one village as a specimen of the 
whole. The inhabitants did not exceed 800 persons, of whom 
not more than 300 were available for work ; but in three 
years this handful of people, besides attending to labour 
connected with providing their daily food, built eighty reed 
huts, fifty lime and wattle houses, forty strong stone cottages, 
a stone chapel, and a mission-house. In less than five years 
after this hurricane, on the islands of Mangaia and Earotonga 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 243 

there were built twelve large substantial stone chapels and 
school-houses, three good mission-houses, and upwards of 300 
stone cottages, averaging each from thirty feet to sixty feet 
long, and twenty feet to thirty feet wide. 

Towards the end of 1847, while the people were thus busy, 
but weakened, a very general epidemic of influenza and 
low fever prevailed on the island. For many weeks some 
hundreds of the population were laid low. Attention to the 
sick and the d3ring drew largely on our time and sympathy. 
I find in a note made at the time that in one week we made 
Tip more than 1,000 doses of medicine, in which work E. 
was my only assistant. 

As soon as this a£9iction abated, Mrs. Gill and 1 attempted 
to resume our regular daily work, which was very much as 
follows : — ^While the school for adults was being attended to 
in the station by the native superintendent, the morning hour 
from six to seven I was engaged in distributing medi- 
cine for the sick ; from seven to eight, breakfast ; from eight 
to nine, at the children's schools, or with lads in the boarding 
school ; then, sometimes, we conversed with the workmen or 
vrith visitors from the settlement; from ten to eleven, at lectures 
with the students of the institution ; then I would visit the 
students' workshop, and thence go to the printing-ofiSce, where 
the native printers had been at work since seven a.m. From 
one to two p.m. was dinner-time. Then some church member, 
inquirer, or candidate for membership would require attention. 
Four days in the week, from three o'clock to four, Bible-classes 
were held with inquirers, or with the teachers in the schools. 
At most of the stations, public services were held three 
evenings in the week, from five o'clock imtil six — one a 
church members' meeting, another for preaching, and a third, 
a general class meeting, at each of which I usually 
presided. From six o'clock tiU seven we would take 
walking exercise in the settlement, frequently embracing 
this opportunity to visit the sick. From seven o'clock 
to eight I was usually in my study, either reading^ 
or translating, or preparing the lectures or sermons, or 
correcting ''proof sheets" from the printers; from eight 

o'clock to half-past eight was devoted to family prayer with 


244 Selections from 

the students, from which time until nine o'clock we engaged in 
general conversation : and thus closed the publie labours of 
each day, with the exception of Saturday, when the natives 
were employed in personal and domestic duties. 

The printing-office was a stone building. It stood on an 
elevated site near the Institution House, Avarua ; it was the 
first stone building erected by the people of that station, and 
it has been a means of doing much to promote enlightened 
views of Christianity, and to extend its blessings throughout 
the Hervey Group and to islands many thousands of miles 
distant. The printing-press was introduced to Earotonga in 
1831, and in 1839 the Directors of the London Missionary 
Society suppUed the mission with a new press and a new fount 
of type. Several native lads became proficient workmen; 
two or three of whom, in order to be more fully in- 
structed, went to the mission printing establishment in 
Samoa. At various times we were much aided in this 
department by grants of paper from the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, and the Eeligious Tract Society. Amongst the 
books printed in the Barotongan language, from the commence- 
ment of the mission,are several editions of first and second class 
school-books ; a large edition of the Pentateuch and other 
separate books of Old and New Testament ; many thousands 
of small and large hymn-books; numerous editions of 
"Brown's," "Watts'," and "The Assembly's" catechisms; 
a large number of James's " Church Member's Guide ; " " The 
Sinner's Friend;" Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress;" a good 
supply of elementary works on Geography, Astronomy, 
Arithmetic, and Grammar ; a small book on Scripture Char- 
acters; a monthly periodical of missionary and general 
information ; school books and Scripture extracts in the lan- 
guages of Mar^, Lifu, and New Caledonia ; a code of 
laws and regulations for Aitutaki, drawn up by the chiefs of 
that island ; Short Commentaries on the Book of Isaiah, on 
the Gospel of John, on the Epistle to the Corinthians, on 
Leviticus, and on the Epistle to the Bomans ; and two editions, 
5,000 each, of the complete Bible : all of which, with the excep- 
tion of the Bible, the Commentaries, and the Scripture 
Characters, were printed at the mission press on the island. 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 245 

During the jive years of Eev. A. Buzacott's absence, ending 
December, 1851, there were printed 132,500 sheets, containing 
1,590,000 pages ; 20,350 tracts were sewn in limp covers, and 
5,543 books were bound in leather. The whole of this work 
was done by young men, the first-fruits of missionary 
instruction, whose fathers had known no letter or sign 
whereby to represent the soimds of their then unwritten 

The Institution House, Eakotonga. 

The institution for the education of a native ministry is open 
to intelligent young men of all the islands of the group, the 
only requirement being that candidates shall be men of 
known piety, of active habits, and in membership with the 
church. Each student is admitted for six months' probation. 
Each married student has a cottage, and, as far as possibly, 
each single young man has a room to himself. A detached 
eating-house is built near the institution, where the whole of 
the students and their wives have two hot meals a day, and 
each student in rotation gives a weekly superintendence to 
this department. An hour, from seven o'clock, every morn- 
ing was devoted by the students to classes in geography, arith- 
metic, and other school studies. Two hours every forenoon 
were devoted to theological instruction. A short prayer was 
offered by a student, who also read the appointed lesson, 
when ten minutes were allowed for criticism on the manner 
of reading. The course of instruction to the students 
included lectures on theology, church history, Biblical 
exposition, biography, geography, grammar, and composition 
of essays and sermons. 

During the years 1847 to 1852 I prepared for the students 
translations of Commentaries on the Book of Isaiah, on the 
Gospel of John, on the 1st and 2nd of Corinthians ; also a 
brief Church History from the time of Christ, and an exposi- 
tion of the Book of Joshua and the Judges, These I 
brought to England, and 1,200 copies of each were printed 
and sent out for the use of the students; and in 1876 a 
second edition of the Church History was printed and sent 

2^6 Selections from 

Late in 1847 a gentleman who had lived many years 
on the Sandwich Islands visited Barotonga on his way 
to America. He sent a report of his visit to the editor 
of a Sandwich Island newspaper. Coming &om a stianger, 
it may be considered a truthful representation of the state of 
the island at the time, and^ therefore, worthy of preservation* 
He wrote as follows : — 

"In continuing our 'Polynesian Sketches,^ quite unex- 
pectedly an interesting account has fallen under our inspec- 
tion of Dr. W ^'s visit at Barotonga, on his voyage to the 

United States. We are quite confident that it was never in- 
tended for publication, but on that very account the testimony 
herein given is the more valuable. Would that eveiy reader 
of Herman Melville's caricatures and misrepresentations (in 
liis late work entitled 'Omoo') of English missionaries in 
the South Pacific might glance an eye over this sketch of a 
writer's first impressions at Barotonga:— 

" ' We descried the lofty outlines of Barotonga, forty mUes 
distant. As we approached, it became a beautiful object to 
look upon, rising sudden and lonely — green and umbrageous 
from the shore to the mountain top — so pleasant and sunny 
did it appear, like an emerald set in silver on the bosom of 
the blue sea. The island is of basaltic structure, and looks 
more like a great body of land that had been sunk than like 
a distinct volcanic mass projecting from the bottom of the 
ocean. On inspecting it, however, you see numerous signs 
of volcanic action on the sides of the island, as if the lava 
and conglomerate had been forced above water or near its 
surface. The peaks projecting here and there, among the 
more round and rugged summits of the island, were barren, 
moss-grown, weather-beaten, and needle-shaped. Those and 
all other mountainous parts and valleys indicated the action 
of the elements from an unspeakable age of antiquity. 

" ' I had hoped to see the Bev. Mr. Buzacott, but learned that 
he had gone to England. The Bev. Mr. Gill, however, was 
at Mr. Buzacott's station. I had never heard particularly 
of him, but, presuming on Anglo-Saxon, or rather on Christian, 
civilisation, I made my way to his house and was received 
,by him and his lady in the most cordial manner, and as 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography, ^47 

^tn old acquaintance, too — ^for I found that they had for a 
long time heard of me, and were expecting me liiere .on my 
paasage home. Soiae ships had touched there a few days 
l>efore, and had reported me as having left the Sandwich 
Islands, and that the " Atlantic " would probably touch at 
IBaxotonga on her way home. In all my wanderings I have 
never known such a hearty and cordial hospitality — and aU 
«o simple and homelike too — as was extended to me and 
mine at Barotonga. Mr. G. is a fine fellow, and imderstands 
"the objects of his business very well. He has a great deal to 
•do — a, seminary of twenty young men under his care pre- 
paring to become missionaries to the unchristianised islands 
of the Western Pacific; a printing-office and workshop to 
;superintend, and much other business which I have not 
time to name. He is well and thoroughly educated, possessing 
much urbanity of manners, well adapted for winning and 
^retaining the love and confidence of the natives, which he 
appears to have secured. He wished much to receive com- 
munications from the missionaries at the Sandwich Islands.' " 

During 1839 to 1852, seventy students were admitted to 
the Institution, thirty of whom were married — making a total 
of one hundred individuals. It is a cause of devout thank- 
fulness and much encouragement that so few of these have 
proved unworthy. In the Hervey group of islands, no less 
than ten stations are efficiently worked by these native 
teachers ; in Samoa, three or four of them have stations, and 
have the confidence and praise of the missionaries ; in Western 
Polynesia they have proved themselves equal to endure 
labour, suffering, and even death for the Gospel's sake; in 
the Maniiki Group, 600 miles beyond Earotonga, they have 
introduced the Gospel ; and in 1853 one of them was appointed 
to labour as missionary to the natives of Earotonga and Man- 
^aia residing on Tahiti. 

The expense of each student at this time was £5 a-year, 
and the entire outlay, or cost to the London Misstonary Society, 
>at the time of my leaving the island, for educating, clothing, 
and boarding twenty students, was not more than £3 a-week. 

The boarding-school at Arorangi was supported by contri- 

248 Selections from 

liutions from otir peisonal fdends in England^ at the cost of 
about £3 a-year each boy. The history of those who had 
then grown up and those who have since grown up is most 
encouraging. Isaia Papeiha, who in 1877 had charge of that 
station as the pastor of Arorangi chnrch, came to the school 
as a boy five years old^ and now keeps on the same kind of 
school, and had twenty boys in it the last time he wrote ta 
me (1876). 

Many of those lads we knew and loved we rejoice to* 
think of now as devoted teachers to the heathen in Western 
Polynesia, or as beloved pastors of churches in islands near 
their own. 

Amid our busy engagements (1849) information was brought 
to us of the landing, on Manuai, of several heathen natives 
from the distant island of Mauiiki. We had long known of 
the Maniiki Group, and were now rejoiced at the prospect of 
introducing the Gospel to its people. 

The circumstances which led to this were as follows: — 
Early in 1849 a large party of these Maniiki natives left 
their island in canoes, purposing to visit Bakaanga, about 
thirty miles from Maniiki. They were overtaken by a storm,, 
and but few reached Bakaanga ; most of the party perished 
at sea ; only the occupants of one canoe survived. 

They had been many weeks at sea, when the captain of a 
whaling-ship, passing from the North to the South Pacific, 
saw them eighty miles from land The benevolent man took 
them on board— five men and four women, some of whom 
were half dead from exhaustion — ^and brought them to the 
Hervey Islands. 

The captain intended to land them either on Barotonga or 
Aitutaki, but, not being able to make either of these islands,, 
he left them on the small uninhabited land of Manual. 

On the arrival of our missionary-ship she was despatched 
to Manual with two teachers ; the poor heathen men and 
women from Maniiki were found and relieved, and brought 
to Aitutaki. They were landed on the Sabbath, during 
morning service; all was new to them, and they were: 
lost in speechless amazement at everything which they 

The Rev. JV. Gill's Autobiography. 249 

saTv. The people of Aitutaki were their brethren, of 
tlie same colour, and spoke the same langus^e as them- 
selves ; but how vast the contrast ! It was as though some 
of the old heathen inhabitants had risen from the dead, and^ 
Avithout having had the experience of the past thirty years of 
Christianity on the island, were permitted to see its results 
and to contrast them with their own heathenism and idolatry ; 
and the young men of Aitutaki had never before realised the 
greatness of the deliverance which Christianity had wrought 
for them, as they did while they looked on these heathen 
islanders of Maniiki, who had been brought to their shores. 

After visiting the schools, the Maniikians attended the 
service in the chapel ; the building and the company were a 
new world of mystery to their untutored minds. They sat in 
the midst of a tJumsand Chbistian Tiatives, one half of whom 
a few years before were as heathen as themselves. They 
listened to the singing of hymns of praise to Jehovah from 
the great chorus of voices ; they looked with astonishment on 
the congregation prostrated in prayer, and felt that they had 
entered into a strange world of wonders. After singing 
and prayer, they heard the story of the Cross of Christ 
stated and explained, and were told of their own interest in 
that story. This, indeed, was a day of salvation to them, and 
they desired that teachers of this same rehgion should be 
sent at once to their own land, Maniiki. They remained 
about a fortnight with the Aitutakian church, and then^ 
accompanied by two teachers, and followed by the prayers 
of the people, they sailed for their own island, Maniiki. 

Introduction of the Gospel to Maniiki. 

On the ship reaching Maniiki the chiefs came on board,, 
and their lost countrymen told them of the wonders they had 
seen at Aitutaki — of the overthrow of idolatry, and the^ 
worship of Jehovah, and of Jesus Christ being the only 
Saviour. The people were willing the teachers should land ; 
and, imder these favourable circimistances, Christianity waa 
introduced to the island of Maniiki 

In giving an account of his early labours, one of the teachers, 
says : — " On landing here, our books^ and clothes, and tools. 

^50 The Rev. W. Gills Autobiography. 

were taken from ua; but an investigation took place by 
•command of the chief, and they were, for the most part, 
restored Many days after we came on shore, the hut in 
which we resided was crowded by visitors, day and night, 
4md we could not find time to sleep. The people did nothing 
but listen to what we had to tell them about the folly of 
idolatry, and the character of the ' evangelia d Jem' " 

On my voyage to Sydney, in 1852, I visited this new 
mission, and it was pleasing to find that the greater part of 
the young could read and that many of them could write. 
Five hundred school-books, printed at Barotonga, had been 
already circulated among the people, and we left with them 
more than a hundred copies of tlie entire Scriptures in their 
■own language. 

Thus, in the short space of tlu*ee years, the inhabitants of 
Maniiki had been delivered from ]ieathenism and idolatry, 
and were under Christian instruction. Maretu, who had 
done good service in Earotonga and Mangaia, went to the 
island ; he formed a church, and superintended the schools, 
and conducted the affairs of the mission with much success. 
It is to labours of men like him that such stations are 
•entrusted — and we need no other. 

The native teacher who was located there, in less than 
twelve months reported "that the natives have renounced 
idolatry and burnt their gods ; that at present they are all 
under instruction, both adults and children, and have already 
made considerable progress. One of our catechisms has been 
committed to memory. A place of worship has been erected 
and the Gospel of Christ preached to them, and the Sabbath 

Thus, in the midst of our abundant labours for the home 
population on Barotonga, God granted His blessings on our 
efforts and those of our native brethren, and gave us en- 
couragement to persevere in our " work of faith and labour of 




During these years the increase of merchant and whaling 
ships visiting the island of Earotonga was most remarkable. 
In our early years we were often six or eight months without 
seeing any vessel from the outside world, but about this time 
visits began to be very frequent for the purpose of obtaining 
yams, bananas, cocoa-nuts, potatoes, firewood, oranges, and 
ivater. Seventy-five ships came to the island during the 
autumn and spring of 1850-51, bringing all kinds of goods 
helpful to the advancing civilisation of the people, and im- 
porting money very largely. Fifty-five whale ships that 
came during the twelve months referred to had on board 
no less a total than 103,500 barrels of whale and sperm 

I recGid a description of early trading transactions :- 
A sliip arrives off the island. On its approach a native 
pilot goes on board to direct the captain, who, on landing, is 
met by the appointed salesman of the station. Giving the 
stranger the right hand of brotherhood, he salutes him in the 
native language, " Baa ora na " — Blessing on you. The captain 
is then conducted to the " market-house," where are stores of 
potatoes, yams, bananas, pumpkins, cocoa-nuts, hogs, fowls, 
-&€. A chest of American or English goods is then given to 
the care of the salesman, who executes the "order," and, 
paying all expenses, he engages three, four, or five boats, 
as the case may be,' to take the supplies to the ship. The 
whole business is generally conducted with propriety and 
satisfaction, and the captain leaves the island with a higher 
appreciation of the Christianity which has subdued the former 
tcruel barbarity of this people, and has made the island a mart. 

25 2 Selections from 

a refuge, and a home ! During two years, ending December, 
1851, captains of more than twenty merchant vessels and 
whalers called at the island, traded with the people, 
gained suitable supplies for their voyage, and invariably 
found law, and order, and honesty, and the commercial 
deportment of the islanders to be such as could not be 
well exceeded in any port of a more civilised country. 
In the entire group, not less than one hundred ships 
annually trade with the natives, and receive produce of 
native labour in exchange for manufactured wares, amount- 
ing to not less than three thousand pounds. In this way 
industry, civilisation, and commerce follow in the footprints 
of Christianity, and, deriving from it their security and 
extension, they should be employed to do universal homage 
to its power and love ; this would always be secured but for 
the perverseness of man's covetous and wicked heart. Men 
too often rejoice in the blessings of Christian civilisation, and 
at the same time ignore (strange infatuation!) the source 
whence they are derived. 

With this increase of prosperity we had to deal with the 
beginnings of trouble through the landing of foreigners 
who wished to become possessed of land. The native 
authorities were, at tliis time, led to resolve not to sell any 
land to foreigners, neither to allow them to marry, concluding, 
from what they had heard, that these were the causes of 
evils which they most dreaded. 

To illustrate the policy with whiph they carried out this pur- 
pose it may be stated that a respectable American captain 
desired to make the island his home. On landing, he was re- 
ceived by the chief judge of the station as his visitor and 
friend. Marking out a large piece of unoccupied ground lying 
between the judge's house and his neighbour's, the captain, 
one day produced a large quantity of cabbage, coffee, pump- 
kin, and various other seeds. "Fine place this to plant 
these seeds," said the visitor. " Truly so," replied the native ; 
" let my servants help you." And the thing was done. A 
month or two afterwards, when the plants had grown, the 
captain asked and gained permission to put up a fence round 
the small plantation. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 253 

Early one morning, before the judge's visitor had made his 
a.ppearance, two stout young men were on the spot with wood 
for jBramework of a house, and they began to clear this ground 
for its erection. The captain was soon with them, and com- 
manded them to desist. *' No," said the young men ; " it is 
our land, and we are going to build our house on it." " It is 
mine," replied the angry foreigner, and he would, in all proba- 
bility, have laid hands on them, had not Joane, the judge, 
opportunely made his appearance. Depending on his firiend's 
interference on his behalf, he demanded immediate redress, 
but was answered, with provoking coolness, " that it was bad 
to be angry, and worse to fight, and that the thing could soon 
T3e decided in court before the chief." That day the case was 
lieard, and the foreigner .was obliged to relinquish what he 
supposed he had secured. The two young men were sons of 
a. native who was dead- The spot of land planted had been 
the site of their father's house, but during their minority they 
lad been living elsewhere ; now one of them was about to 
marry, and he came to take possession of his rights. The 
matter being thus decided, much to the chagrin of the captain, 
he inquired about a small coffee plantation inland, which he 
had planted on the sole ground of friendship, as in the other 
case. " Very good," replied Joane ; " the seeds have grown, 
the plants are high, and when they bear fruit, the fruit is 
yours; but the ground is mine, and the trees are mine." 
*' Nonsense," replied the foreigner, " they are both mine, and, 
when I leave the island, I can sell them to whom I choose." 
No, no," rejoined the native ; " we do not dispose of our land. 
As long as you remain you may have the fruit, but the land 
and the trees are mine." 

The men of Rarotonga were now clothed respectably — ^they 
wore shirt, trowsers, waistcoat, and coat ; most of them have 
strong rush hats for common use, and finer ones for occasional 
service, and about one in every twenty completes his full 
dress by putting on stockings and shoes. The general 
appearance of the whole population is appropriate to their 
climate and habits, and in this sense is civilised, decent, and 
respectable ; so much so, that a stranger to their past history, 
landing in their midst, could not discover, in their present 


254 Selections from 

position, any sign of their former Idolatry and heathenism, 
and would scarcely believe that they are the same race, and 
in many instances the very same men, who, only forty years 
ago, weie naked, savage cannibals. The women wear a native 
cloth wrapper, as inner garment, over which is worn a long 
flowing robe ; they have no shoes, but a bonnet of ^ndy 
wrought plait, neatly trinmied with foreign ribbon, is con- 
sidered essential to complete their dress. We had the honour 
of presenting to her Majesty the Queen a bonnet of this 
native-wrought material, neatly made in English style, for 
her Soyal Highness the Princess Eoyal. In accepting it, 
her Majesty was graciously pleased "to express the deep 
feeling of gratification with which she had received the 
accounts of the happy results of the teaching of Christianity 
to this once heathen people." The Hon. Colonel Phipps, in 
writing to me from Buckingham Palace, also says :- 

'' I ani commanded to state that her Majesty the Queen would be 
happy to show her desire to encourage tlie industry of the native women 
of Barotonga by ordering some of the sugar-cane leaf plait, wbich her 
Majesty would have made up in this country. Perhaps you would be 
good enough, therefore, to inform me of the extent to which this manu- 
facture is carried, so that I might be able to judge what quantity her 
Majesty might advantageously order." 

I had the honour to communicate the required information, 
and to receive her Majesty's order for enough material ta 
make twenty bonnets. 

With increase of material means it was gratifying to 
see the willing liberality of the natives to meet the ex- 
penses of their mission. At the time of which I write 
I was able to record that, besides paying for their books, the 
people of Earotonga had formed an Auxiliary Missionary 
Society, with a view to send contributions to the parent 
Society in England, the result of which, given out of their 
poverty, will show both their gratitude and zeal. Having 
then but little money, the larger part of the contribution& 
was given in arrowroot, the preparation of which involves 
an amount of time and labour but little understood in this 
country. The seed is planted, and as it grows .it has to be 
frequently weeded; then the root is dug up and is grated; 

The Rev, W, Gill's Autobiography. 255 

then it is washed three or four times, and subsequently dried 

and pounded and sifted ; and after tliis expenditure of time 

and labour it only yields twopence-halfpenny per pound 

when sold to the merchant. For many years, however, in 

this way did these wilUng and dihgent people prepare 4,000 

pounds weight of this article for the Society ; which, together 

with money subscribed, amounted to about eighty pounds 

sterlimg a-year. Latterly, however, they have prepared less 

arrowroot, but, by sale of coffee and cotton and other produce,. 

have raised more money ; so that, in the year 1854, this native 

auxiliary contributed to the funds of the London Missionary 

Society no less a sum than one hundred pounds, which, added 

to the amount raised for the same object by the people of 

Mangaia, Aitutaki, and the other islands of this group, made 

a total of nearly three hundred pounds for the year ! 

It is with no ordinary pleasure I look back to those years 
of labour and of the reward in successes then obtained. 

But I have also vivid reminiscences of anxiety about the 
young. All the young men and women thirty years of age 
: knew nothing of heathenism; they had been brought up in 
the mission schools, but many, very many, at this time, in 
1850, gave us trouble, and were a source of anxiety both to 
their parents and the chiefs. 

The site of the viQage of Ngatangiia had been so destroyed 

; by the gale of 1846 that it could not be built up so as to 

accommodate the whole of the Ngatangiian tribe. Early in 

1850 a few disaffected, evil-disposed young men of the tribe 

determined to take this opportunity for breaking away from 

- the majority of the people, and forming a new station two 

miles distant from the original village. This plan was. 

:, opposed by the chiefs and principal landowners of the district. 

; The contest was carried on between the two parties with sucli 

violence and ill-feeling that it had well-nigh caused a war, 

[ . and proved fatal to the best interests of the whole community. 

J After a long season of anxious suspense, however, the good 

offices of the chiefs of the other tribes were called in, and the 

q: matter was amicably settled by the estabUshment of a fifth 

.; township called Matavera. Tlus party soon built a chapel 

and school-house for themselves, and have now a native 

1* r 

^5^ Selections from 

pastor located among them, who is labourii^ with great 

Just twelve months after this, a party of ungodly young 
men came from Tahiti, and secretly taught some of the 
natives of Baiotonga how to mix and ferment orange 
juice, so as to make ''orange rum." This being prohibited 
by the law of the land, the parties detected were fined. For 
tK>me months the right and power of law and order were 
shaiply contended with by those who wished to introduce 
drunkenness and disorder. 


Just at this time a blessed awakening took place, followed 
by a true revival. When we were thus dreading a calamity 
which threatened to overwhelm us as a flood, the Lord raised 
up the standard of the Divine Spirit; the billows receded, 
the plague was stayed, and many, veiv many, of the most 
wayward and wicked young persons at every settlement were 
rescued from misery and ruin. 

Among the causes instrumental in leading to tMs awaJcen- 
ing, I well remember the death of a fine, educated, wicked 
young man. Eighteen months before, he had left the island 
in a whaling ship for a voyage to the Sandwich Islands. 
There he associated with most abandoned characters, and 
on his return to Karotonga became a ringleader in vice. He 
was, however, taken ill, and during the first weeks of his 
affliction he determined to harden himself and companions in 
sin by opening hi& house to assemblies for dancing and 
debauchery. But his illness increased, and with it the viper 
of his iniquity gained strength, and stung his inner soul with 
bitterest remorse. 

He desired to die. In an awful state of mental agony 
he was kept aUve, almost miraculously, to warn and to 
exhort those who had been his willing victims in crime. 
While in this state, he was frequently visited by Christian 
friends, who desired his redemption, even at this the eleventh 
hour; but nothing hopeful could be obtained from him — 
nothing but declamations of self-condemnation — ^and he died 
in fearful, convulsive groans, which, he said, were the com- 

The Rev. IV. Gill's Autobiography . 257 

mencement of everlasting death. The txcesB of his folly was 
the cause of Ids death, and his grave was, to his youthful 
companions, as a beacon of danger, which mercifully pre- 
vented their following in the same wild career of destruc- 

A spirit of prayer was poured out on the churches ; repent- 
ance, and desire for religious instruction, were manifested by 
many of those who heretofore had been scornful or uncon- 
cerned. This called out the energies of the godly ; domi- 
ciliary visits were made, Bible-classes were held, copies of 
the " Sinner's Friend *' were eagerly sought after, and several 
hours daily were appointed by myself and teachers for talking 
with those who sought direction and consolation in their 
newly awakened state. 

But, in the midst of this time of revival, there were 
those who did despite to the Spirit of Grace, keeping them- 
selves back from His influence, and endeavouring to 
frustrate it in others. Such a case occurred in a young 
man who had been frequently visited by two aged women 
for Christian conversation. Always before going to him, they 
spent a short time together in prayer to God for His direction 
and blessing ; but week after week the wicked young man 
hardened his heart, and at length became so impudent that 
these true sisters of mercy resolved on paying only one visit 
more, and the young man had also determined on a daring 
deed by which to decide that this visit should be the last. It 
was eventide, and, his scheme being arranged, he was sitting 
on the doorway of his reed hut. " Come in, come in!" he cried 
to the Christi^an women as they approached him. Surprised at 
this unwonted blandness, they entered the house. It was 
now dark, and the young man requested that they would be 
seated, while he got a light, saying, at the same time, that he 
hoped they had brought their books. Seating them near the 
doorway he appeared to be feeling after the two pieces of 
touch-wood with which the natives get a Hght, when, un- 
seen by the good women, he took up his gun, abeady charged 
for the purpose, and, pulling the trigger, discharged it over 
their heads. The flash and report frightened the women; 

but, finding themselves still alive, they hastened to the village, 


2^8 Selections from 

thankful for their own preservation, yet mourning over the 
**lo9i young inan*' as they thought liim; but it was not 
so. Instantly, on their leaving the house, a horror seized his 
soul; he fell to the ground, and remained most of the 
night in a state of trembling despair. The extremity of his 
wickedness was the opportunity of God's grace. His mind 
was enlightened, his heart was subdued, and, after sorrowing 
many days, because of Iiis transgressions, he obtained from 
God peace to his soul. 

During the four months of this special visitation of grace, 
more than Jive hundred souls were brought under anxious 
concern for salvation, three hundred of whom were known to 
remain consistent disciples of Jesus Christ. It would be easy 
to notice in detail the history of many of these numerous 
converts, but I refrain. The following will be an example 
of many : — ^A young person wrote : " Blessings on you fi*om 
God, who is feared by His angels in heaven and by 
His people on earth, but whom I have not feared. 
I have sinned against Him, and I now feel that my 
sins are numerous. I now remember the words of exhorta- 
tion which you formerly spoke to me, and which I despisei 
They are now like thorns in my flesh ; and my sins are 
drawing my soul down to destruction. Alas ! the fearfulness 
of that place ! I am filled with distress. Oh, that God would 
compassionate me, and draw my soul out of the net of the 
devil ! My desire is, that you may become to me like Evan- 
gelist in the book of the Pilgrim. I had been attempting to 
take care of my own life, but I have fallen. May the Lord 
compassionate me, a guilty sinner ! I am in shame. I am 
an orphan, lean of heart, and have no joy ; and tears are in 
my eyes night and day. I am saying, ' Where is God ; will 
He cast me off for death ? ' Fire burns in my heart ; but I 
am seeking Jesus Christ for salvation. May I not join the 
' Bible-class ' for instruction ? I cannot tell how soon death 
may come." 

The following address, spoken by another of the converts, 
is amusing, but characteristic : — 

" Fathers and brethren," he said, " last night as I lay on my 
bed, thinking on my present experiences, the cocks began to 

Tlie Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 259 

•crow, and all at once a thought came into my mind that they 
Tesembled our teachers and missionaries: they are always 
-crowing — ^warning and teaching us. Papeiha came first, 
And he crowed every morning and evening, making known 
the sins of the people and the love of God; then came 
Wiliamu and Pitimani and Barakoti, and they crowed 
-continually. Ah ! it was as morning then ; and some of your 
fathers awoke out of the sleep of sin, and you have had a 
long day, but many of us sleep on. We just heard the sound 
of the voice, and lifted up our eyelids, but soon folded our 
hands in folly, and slept on in our sin. It was thus with me ; 
but I am thankful Misi Gilo did not flyaway to another land, 
and leave us to sleep on until death. He remained, and kept 
on crowing-— crowing the Word of God. But, alas ! it is noon- 
day now ; my morning has passed ; yet I rejoice that I have 
;awakened out of my sleep, and I desire to give the remainder 
of my day to God and His service." 

On another occasion, an elderly native, addressing the 

ohurch members, said: "Brethren!" and, pausing for a 

moment, continued : " Ah ! that is a neto name ; we did not 

know the true meaning of that word in our heathenism. It 

is the * evangelia a Jesu ' that has taught us the meam'ng of 

' brethren.' But, am I here ? — ^here in the midst of the 

•Church of Jesus ? What a marvel! I marvel — youmarveL I 

um here ! It is the boundless love of God. You all know me." 

Pointing to a man about his own age, he continued : ''Do you 

not remember so-and-so, whom we killed on yonder mountain, 

portions of whose body we cooked and ate ? " He mentioned 

three others by name, whom he and others in the church had 

thus devoured in cannibal feasts; and then, with tears 

-running down his cheeks, he exclaimed, " Oh, the love of God I 

how far beyond all measurement ! These hands have killed 

eleven men during the reign of Satan here, whose bodies, with 

those of others, I shared in our war-feasts. And is it true that 

I am here ? Why even you yovm/g men know me. I was a 

wild savage long after the Gospel was preached in our land. 

I was one of the seventy priests who blistered their breasts 

over the sacred fire of Tangaroa's temple, and I vowed the 

TOW of death to the Word of Jesus. I was among the number 


2 6o Selections from 

who burnt down the houses of those who received the Word ; 
and the cliapel, school, and missionary's house we burnt to 
the ground. But the Word of God Jehovah was more mighty 
than I, and I am here. I think I have loved God some three 
or four years past, but have not been able to profess that love 
by joining the church until now. Whenever I have thought 
of doing 80, the sin and guilt of my cannibalism Jiave prevmtec[ 
me. Tliis was my great barrier, until, six months ago, I heard 
Misi Gilo preach from that God's Word written by the prophet 
Isaiah, wliich speaks thus ; ' I have blotted out thy transgres- 
sions as a cloud, and as a cloud of sin. Keturn unto Me, for 
I have redeemed thee/ That word was my salvation ; my 
burden was by it removed, my soul was set at liberty ; and 
because of the love and power of Jesus, I, the greatest of 
sinners, am here." 

This gracious awakening was not at one station only, but 
at each on the island. 

Mr. Pitman, writing of these events, said: — ^''Iro, the 
teacher at Titikaveka, informed me of the pleasing indications 
of a great change in some young people who had been very 
wicked, and who appeared under deep concern for their 
spiritual welfare, and desired me, as soon as I could, to con- 
verse with them» I repaired to Titikaveka, and found it to 
be as he had stated, and I do hope the Lord has many precious- 
souls in tliat place. The first who came was a young woman 
whom I instantly recognised as one of the earliest scholars in 
our schools, but who had subsequently been * led captive by 
the devil at his will,' and had obstinately refused to listen to 
any exhortation, either from her pious mother or other 
members of the church who visited her with a view to her 
eternal interests. She said she hardened herself against 
reproof, and was determined to have her fiU of sin. 'My 
mother,* observed the young woman, ' frequently warned me 
of the awful consequences of my guilt, but I stopped my ears 
to all entreaty. At length my mother said, "Well, my 
daughter, if you will not hear me, prepare for a visit from God, 
whose wrath against such as you who know better is very 
dreadful." Soon after this I was visited with a severe afflic- 
tion, and brought down to the gates of death, when my sins 

The Rev, W. GilVs Autobiography, i6t 

"terrified me, and the admonitions of my parent and others were 
brought to my recollection* I considered myself lost ! — an 
outcast ! But, amazing love I God has been pleased to raise 
me up. Now am I thoroughly convinced " that the wages of 
»in is death " — the end of the way of wickedness is wrath 
•eternal. Sin to me is now a thing terrific — no longer will I 
ivalk in that path ; no, I have given up myself to God through 
Christ, by whom alone I can be saved, in whom alone I trust, 
iihough such a great sinner, and hope He will not forsake me.' 
I reminded her of her wicked ways, and how grieved I was 
when I made inquiries about her of Iro* She wept, and 
replied, ' Oh, teacher, if the Lord had then cast me off, my 
soul would have been lost/ 

" The next case was that of a young man, son of pious 
parents, instructed in our schools, who had formerly been 
under religious impressions, and was baptized, but afterwards 
returned to folly. I had been prepared for this interview by 
his mother, who had previously informed me of his being, 
through mercy, reclaimed. Coming one day to fetch medicine 
for a sick relative, such was her joy, ere she could tell me the 
nature of her errand, that the moment she saw me she cried 
out, ' Oh, teacher, my son is brought to a conviction of his 
sins ! ' ' That,' I replied, ' is good news indeed. How came it 
^bout ? ' 'It was,' she rejoined, ' on the last Sabbath you 
preached at Titikaveka, from Rev. vii.'9. When I went home 
after class, he sat very pensively, and did not speak. " Are 
you ill ? " I asked. " Not in body," he rephed, " but in mind. 
Oh, that great multitude — shining robes — ^palms of victory I 
But — not to be associated with them ! I have forsaken the 
path they trod, and have turned my back against that glorious 
place " ' — ^alluding to his return to evil. Having alluded in 
my discourse to some present who have fathers, or mothers, 
or near relatives there, and asked. What if you should be 
refused admission to their joys ? — appears to have made a 
deep impression upon his mind ; and he then resolved, without 
'delay, to forsake his companions in sin, and re-unite himself 
wdtli the people of God." 

In my letter to the Directors at this time, I wrote 

262 Selections from 

thus : — '* I am happy to state that, up to the present time,, 
we have good reason to hope that, of the hundreds who 
then were brought to make confession of sin and profession 
of faith in Christ, the majority will stand firm. You have 
witnessed our anxiety on behalf of the rising generation. 
T?he fathers who fir^it received the words of life have 
died. Since the early days of the mission, daily instruc- 
tion has been given to the young. This instruction has been 
attended with evident good, in a social and moral point of 
view; but still our hope, our only hope, for the future 
spiritual welfare of Barotonga has been a change of heart 
experienced by its favoured population. God has not left us 
without a witness for good. Since the formation of the three 
churches of the island, in 1833, more than fifteen hundred 
members have been admitted to communion, one half of whom 
have died in the faith, whose early years of youth and 
manhood were devoted to idol worship, and sunk in all the 
vile degradation of cannibalism. Between seven and eight 
hundred are now living among us as consistent members of 
Christ's body, our joy and our crown. During the past year, 
one hundred and twelve members have been admitted to 
communion at the three stations. These are &uits of past 
labours ; and, in two or three months hence, we hope to 
receive a goodly number of those who, in June and July last, 
gave themselves to the Lord by public profession. Encour- 
aged by these and other tokens of the Lord's favour, we desire 
to enter on the engagements of the new year in the spirit of 
gratitude, confidence, and zeal. He hath been mindful of us 
— He will bless us. Not that we expect to be exempt from 
trial, or to be able to escape difficulties. But we find that 
every past trial and difficulty gives an increase of experience, 
patience, and hope — that hope wliich maketh not ashamed. 

" In this our time of joy we were called to mourn over the 
death of the most educated and excellent woman on tlie 
island. She was a daughter of our principal chief at Avarua, 
and her years of childhood were advantageously spent in the 
family of our beloved friends, Mr. and Mrs. Buzacott. Every 
attention was paid to her moral, intellectual, and spiritual 
welfare by Mrs. Buzacott ; and her decided superiority iu 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 263 

mind and manners above others was veiy gratifying to us aU, 
and led to the hope that her future influence would be most 
salutary. She had a good knowledge of the English language, 
in which she could read, write, and converse with much 
freedom. About ten years ago she married our young and 
excellent chief of Arorangi. During the first six years after 
marriage she proved a clever and an industrious woman ; but 
we looked in vain for a change of heart. A conscious 
superiority, without the influence of subduing grace, led her 
to manifest a haughty spirit ; and, for some little time, a 
shadow of inconsistency clouded her domestic life, and we 
feared for her future safety and usefulness. God, however, 
blessed the eflForts made for her salvation. Personal aflBiction, 
a parent's death, and a mother's affectionate counsel were 
made the means of subduing her proud heart, and of leading 
her to the Cross of Christ as a guilty sinner, and to seek from 
Him alone pardon, peace, and sanctifieation. About three 
years ago she joined the chuich at Arorangi, and ever since has 
been a consistent and useful member. Her former advantages 
were now brought out, and used for the welfare of her 
household, and began to tell, for good, on the female popula- 
tion of her settlement. Every day she was an active 
superintendent in the girls' school, and we all thought her 
course woidd be long and beneficial But in an hour of 
unlooked-for calamity, the opening flower of promise is cut 
down. After a short illness of three days, she was called to 
join the number of the redeemed in glory. Her sickness was 
of such a nature as to preclude much converse. We needed 
not, however, her dying testimony to sustain our hopes ; and 
she needed not dying consolation to pr&pare her for the 
change. Most of the time of her illness was occupied by 
prayer and singing. At the close of one of these exercises, 
she sighed < Ai^enl ' and her spirit fled, leaving us to mourn 
her loss." 





Early in 1852 we were cheered by the return of the Rev. A. 
Buzacott and Mrs. Buzacott after more than five years' absence. 
The growth of the people, the new cu'cumstances in which 
increasing civilisation was fast placing them, the demand for 
continual instruction and guidance at this time, together 
with our isolation and frequent failure of E.'3 health, gave 
us no little anxiety; but we had had much pleasure and 
reward in our labours, and both our trials and our joys caused 
us to welcome our friends with gratitude and gladness. 

The people also were rejoiced to welcome their first teacher, 
and a letter written by Mr. Buzacott on his arrival will best 
describe the circumstances of his landing. 

He says: — " We were greatly delighted on finding our station 
in such an interesting state of spiritual prosperity. During our 
absence brother Gill had admitted to church fellowship 115 
new members, and re-admitted four backsliders. Thirty were 
waiting my arrival to be admitted, and two days after I had 
the pleasure of giving them the right hand of fellowship, 
after having heard many of them give the most delightful 
testimony to the power of the Gospel ; aU these were the 
fruit of the revival in June and July, 1851. The first Sabbath 
was a season I shall never forget, once more to be in the 
midst of an afifectionate people, numbers of whom were my 
spiritual offspring ; they seemed delighted again to listen to 
a voice to which they had long been accustomed, while 
they were addressed from the words of Paul: ' Having 
obtained help of God I continue unto this day/ The after- 
noon surpassed in interest anything I had ever witnessed 

The Rev, W, Gills Autobiography. 265 

before. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper was administered ; 
thirty new members were sitting down for the first time. 
Captain Morgan, and several of the crew from the John 
Williams, five of whom we had the pleasure of admitting to 
<ihurcli fellowship during our voyage, the missionaries bounJ 
for the navigators, and four young men from the Earotongan 
college, with their wives, to be set apart as evangelists to the 
heathen islands to the west. Several addresses were given 
both in English and the native language, and we found it 
indeed a season of refreshing from the Divine presence. 

" Twelve months since a great revival was experienced 
both here and at Arorangi, through the instrumentality 
of brother Gill. Upwards of three hundred were brought 
under deep conviction for sin, the greater part of whom 
•continue to give pleasing evidence of true conversion 
to God. Including the thirty admitted on our arrival, we 
have already admitted eiglity-five, and fifteen more stand 
proposed for next month. Most of them are quite young, and 
^hen we left for England in 1846 were children in the school. 
It is very delightful to hear them give an account of the way 
in which the Holy Spirit convinced them of sin and led them 
to the Saviour. The revival happened just after a very trying 
season to the people of God in this place. Some of the wild 
young men had been to the Tahitian Islands, where they had 
Icamt to make what the natives call orange rum — the juice 
of the orange in a state of fermentation, which is highly 
intoxicating. Drunkenness, a new vice for Rarotonga, made 
its appearance in almost every part of the island simul- 
taneously, and required the strong arm of the law to queU it. 
This stirred up the people of God to renewed exertion. 
Earnest prayer, followed by domiciliary visits and other means 
recommended by brother Gill, was the means, under the 
blessing of God, of producing the revival. Three very young 
men, who were taken away by the police in a state of in- 
toxication, to be confined in' durance vile,' to prevent their in- 
juring each other in their drunken bouts, are now in the church, 
changed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in- their right 
mind. It is our custom to allow the new members, when 
they are admitted, to give an account of their conversion and 

266 Selections from 

subsequent experience. Sometimes as many as ten or twelve 
have risen one after another to add their testimony that the 
Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. 

" Various have heen the means employed to produce the 
blessed change. Some attribute their conversion to the visits 
of the members of the church, many of whom were very active 
and earnest in the work, and they laboured not in vain. 
Others came to the house of God, not only careless, but to- 
mock the preacher, and make game of what they heard ; in 
some unexpected moment some word or sentence, like the 
arrow drawn at a venture, pierced them, and they went away 
wounded and distressed, until they found peace in the 
Crucified One. One young man said he came to the house of 
God as usual, careless and thoughtless, but he had no sooner 
taken his seat than he became overwhelmed with a sense of 
the Divine presence — ^that it was the house of God, and that 
God, who had been an eye-witness to all his sins, was now look- 
ing on him. The ground being thus already prepared for the 
reception of the seed, on the announcement of the text — ' He 
drew me out of the horrible pit,' 4&c. — he trembled exceedingly ► 
This sermon, preached by brother Gill, was the means of setting 
the poor man at liberty, and many others have mentioned it 
as the means of producing a deep impression on their minds. 
Everything at present looks well." 

The natives on all the islands of the group had been 
anxiously expecting the complete Bible in the Earotongam 
language on the return of Mr. Buzacott. But as the fourth 
and fifth years slowly moved on, they began to fear they 
would not realise their expectations. 

My brother wrote from Mangaia giving an account of the 
people's delight on the occasion. Some said, " Surely Baro- 
koti is dead." Others thought, " The Society could not finish 
the work." At length, however, their apprehensions were put 
to flight, the missionary ship came, and for two days many 
able-bodied men were engaged in bringing the boxes of Bibles 
over the reef, with great zeal and delight. It was with 
difliculty they could be restrained from breaking open the 
boxes in order to see the " vihjoU Bible ; " and when a copy 
was held up in their midst, they gave utterance to their 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 267 

feelings in a loud and long-continued shout of joy. A box 
full of the sacred volumes was taken into the chapel, and/ 
after offering praise to God, copies were distributed to those 
who had prepaid for them. At a subsequent missionary 
meeting, an aged disciple, addressing the assembly from 
Job V. 17 — 19, said : " I have often spoken to you from texts 
out of other parts of the Bible than those which we had, but 
this is the first time I have seen the book of Job in our own 
language. It is a new book to us. When I received my 
Bible, I never slept until I had finished this book of Job. I 
read it all. Oh, what joy I have felt in the wonderful life of 
that good man I Let us read these new books — ^let us go to 
the missionary and inquire into their meaning ; let us be at 
his door before he rises ; let us stop him when we meet him,, 
that he may tell us about these new words." And, lifting up 
his Bible before the congregation, he continued, " My brethren 
and sisters, this is my resolve. The dust shall never cover 
my Bible — ^the moths shall never eat it — the mildew shall 
never rot it ! It is my light ! my joy ! " 

At Barotonga 5,000 copies were landed of the ''whole: 
Bible in the native language." At the several stations 
religious services were held to commemorate the event, and 
nothing could exceed the desire of the people, each one to 
receive a copy for himself. Those who had no money to 
purchase brought arrowroot, dried banana, coffee, and various 
other produce, as barter, by which means, in three years, they,^ 
with the natives of other islands of the group, transmitted to* 
the Bible Society more than^t;e hundred pounds as part pay- 
ment for that edition. 

The people at Avarua, under the superintendence of Mr. 
Buzacott, built a new chapel. The walls were of coral block, 
and it was finished in superior style. It would seat one 
thousand people. 

Early in the morning crowds of natives came from all the 
stations to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the 
landing of Papeiha. A thousand persons got inside the 
chapel, 700 of whom were members in communion at the 
village churches. Most of the deacons, teachers, and 

2 68 Selections from 

missionaries from the surrounding islands had come for the 
occasion. The captain and crew of the missionary sliip were 
there ; Eev. C. Hardie, representative of the distant Samoan 
churches, was there ; the Eev. Messrs. Pitman and Buzacott 
and myself were there ; the venerable Tinomana and Pa, 
chiefs who had lived tliirty years of heathen life before the 
Gospel was taken to the land, were there ; the noble 
•chieftainess, Makea, the worthy successor of her sainted 
parent, was there ; Papeiha, the aged and the honourable 
teacher, who, thirty years before, had landed in the midst of 
the heathen population, at the peril of liis life, was there ; 
and, to complete the hallowed company, Tapa^ru, the native 
woman who was stolen from her island home a heathen 
■captive, and returned a Christian pioneer — ^the heroine who 
fought for the life of Papeiha when her countrymen had 
designed liis murder — she also was there. 

It was my privilege thus to unite with the people in 
commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the landing of 
Papehia, the first Christian teacher, on the island. It was a 
day of holy convocation, long to be remembered and worthy 
to be recorded in* my Earotonga memories. I give these 
additional Notes from my Journal at ike time: — 

" Nearly one thousand native members of the church had 
dming twenty years died in faith ; and seven hundred were 
then living, and that day were united in a communion of 
salvation and love, and partook together of the memorials of 
Christ's death, whose power and grace had translated them 
from the kingdom of darkness into marvellous light, and 
liberty, and love. It was a holy day, a sacred occasion, 
suggestive of numerous reflections, salutary in its various 
influences, and long to be remembered by the aged and 
the yoimg, who formed the two generations present that 

" After praise and prayer, the missionaries spoke of the past 
history, the present position, and foreign missionary relations 
of the people ; the elements of the communion were then 
distributed, and afterwards a goodly number of the members 
gave short and appropriate addresses. Tlie fathers spoke of 
themselves when in idolatry and heathenism, and in contrast 

Tht Rev. TV. GilVs Autobiography. 269 

noAV under the reign of the Lord Jesus ; the young people 
spoke with gratitude for their privileged position, and pledged 
themselves, by grace, to hold fast their profession, and to do 
all in their power to extend the blessing of Christianity to 
those yet in darkness and degradation, British churches 
were borne in grateful remembrance, and fervent prayer was 
offered to God still to cause His face to shine on them, and to 
make them a still more extended blessing to the nations 
of the world. 

" Many of the natives spoke with effect. Old EsltS. related 
events in his heathen history. Once, while living in the 
mountains with all Arorangi, on account of a determination 
of other parties to exterminate the people of that village, he 
ventured down to the sea-side to fish. While there, a party 
of Ngatangiians came from the bushes, threatening to kill 
him. He ran towards the sea, was pursued, but escaped. 

" Taevao related a story of a woman who said, long ago^ 
that Pouvaru would in future times be a place of light. 
He applied it to the Institution now erected; and* that there 
the Gospel was first preached. 

" One man said, ' We have our dead buried in Tanna, New 
Caledonia, Eromanga, Mar^, Fotuna, Isle of Pines ; we must 
go and take possession. Think of Abraham ; he buried his 
dead in Canaan, and afterwards got the land.' 

" A youth said he had given himself to God's work. He 
had been in the church five years. Three years ago he 
wanted to give himself to the work of God among the 
heathen, but liis father would not spare him; his father 
would have him away from the missionary-house. He was 
obedient and went home ; had been home now three years. He 
had been continually praying to God to cause liis father to 
give him up. He did not know his father's intention, but he 
again gave himself to God. Here the young man became 
affected, but before he could sit down his father, who was 
present, rose ilp and, as well as able, said : ' My son, I sur- 
render you. I no more keep you back.' 

" Tevaevae said, ' Here ' (holding up the Word of God) — 
* here is this treasure ; I have it ! Now I am reading it from 
Moses to Eevelation. I am being instructed — Oh, to know 

^70 Tie Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 

its meaning! — and, if God will, here now I am ready to go to 
the lands of darkness.' 

" Patoka said he had often eaten human flesh. 

•* Maiama said he had wings, but they were heavy with 
his family. Beference was then made to five men from 
Sydney who were murdered here three or four years before 
the introduction of the GospeL Four of them were eaten. 
' But,' said he, * the British came, not to kill us ; they sent us 
the Gospel. Tlieir dead were buried here, and now they 
have taken possession of us in the name of Christ.' 

*• Last of all, good old Papeiha spoke ; tears rolled down 
his furrowed face, whilst he unburdened the emotions of 
his overfloMring, grateful heart. He said, ' We are still sowing 
the seed of the Kingdom, we have done it for many years, 
And we have reaped. Now let us continue to sow.' The 
good old man gave a brief account of the savage state of 
Itarotonga when he first landed among them. ' Now,' he said, 
•* we say the heathen are savages, but they are no worse than 
we were.' ' And, holding up in his hand a copy of the Holy 
Scriptures, just completed in the Rarotongan language, he gave 
<}od the praise, by whom alone had been wrought the triumphs 
they tliat day commemorated; and, having committed the 
Word of God as liis legacy to the rising generation, he prayed, 
'*Now, Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for 
mine eyes have seen Thy salvation! — this is the glory of 
Thy people and Thy light to enlighten the world.' Thus 
terminated tlie Thirtieth Anniversary of missionary labour 
on the Island of Rarotonga." 




I NOW have to record my leaving Barotonga and the much- 
loved work there. For some time past Mrs. Gill's ill-health 
had made it apparent to all around us that a speedy change 
was necessary. Our love to the natives and our work made 
it difficult for us to decide on a change, and when we did so 
it was only contemplated to be for a time. 

After due and prayerful consideration of the subject I 
wrote the following letter to the local committee of the 

mission : — 

" April 2Qth, 1852. 

" My dear Brbthrbn, — ^You are aware the past six or seven years 
have been years of anxiety to me respecting Mrs. Qill's health. At 
frequent interrals alarming symptoms have appeared, exciting onr worst 
fears. Medical men from whom we have had advice in the islands, and 
from England, recommend relaxation &om ordinary labour and a change 
of cUmate. 

"This advice you have kindly seconded as you have marked our 
anxiety. We could not, however, consider it our duty to suspend our 
labours during the years of absence of our fellow-labourers, Mr. and 
Mrs. Buzacott. They have now returned in the enjoyment of renewed 
liealth and vigour, and may, it is hoped, under God's blessing, sustain 
the duties of these stations for a few years. This, in connection with 
the anticipated removal of two or three of our number three years 
hence, has led me to think that we can better be spared from your 
midst now than at any future time ; and I think, also, that if Mrs. 
Gill's health can be benefited by a change, the present is the more 
likely time to secure the advantage than at a more advanced period 
in life. 

''I beg leave, therefore, to submit to your candid and afifectionate 
consideration the following proposition: That on the arrival of the 
missionary ship from Tahiti, in December next, Mrs. Gill and I proceed 
to Sydney, and thence to England, with a view of returning to you in 
the * John Williams * on her next voyage. With heart and life devoted 

272 Selections from 

to our common work on the islands, desiring your counsel and prayers, 
and, above all, the Divine direction, 

^ I am, my dear Brethren, 

" Yours affectionately, 

" William Gill." 

The following letter was drawn up and sent to me by the 
brethren in reply to the foregoing : — 

" AvARUA, Ai^ 28*A, 1852. 
« To Rev. W. Gill. 

" Dear Brother, — ^We deeply sympathise with you in your anxiety 
on account of Mrs. Gill's health, the frequent failure of which has led 
you to the conviction that relaxation and a change of climate are neces- 
sary for her restoration. We are quite sure that nothing but a sense of 
duty would induce either yourself or Mrs. Gill to reliiiquish, though 
only for a season, a work to which you have consecrated your lives. 

^ It is also with the deepest feeling of regret that we are brought to 
the same conviction that the step you propose is necessary, and therefore 
must receive our unanimous sanction. 

" Though the time proposed is perhaps the most favourable, yet, in a 
station where so much is to be done and so few to do it, your loss 
will be greatly felt. We would, however, try to acquiesce in our Master's 
will, who is now saying to you, *Tum aside and rest awhile.' We do. 
not, however, anticipate that your absence from us will, if God give you 
health and opportunity, be one of unbroken rest. 

"We rejoice that in your way to Sydney you will have an oppor- 
tunity of communicating with our brethren of the Samoan Islands, and 
of visiting the stations westward, and of encouraging our native brethren 
who are engaged in the high places of the field. 

' "We cannot but agree to your proposal that, 'on your arrival in 
Sydney, and having had medical advice, you proceed at once to 
England, there to wait the return of the ' John JFiUiams.* 

" We sincerely commend you to the kind attention of the Directors of 
the London Missionary Society, and hope they will give you a hearty 
welcome, and while in England, from your experience and the success 
with which God has crowned your labours, we hope you may be the 
means of increasing the interest of the British churches in the cause of 

"We shall not forget you in our prayers that the voyage may be 
beneficial to your dear partner, and that in due time you may both 
return to your beloved work and people invigorated in body and mind. 

" We most affectionately commend you both to the kind care of our 
covenant-keeping God and Father, and remain, 

" Yours affectionately, 

" Charles Pitman. 
" Aaron Buzacott." 

The Rev. TV. GilVs Autobiography. 273 

As soon as it was decided that we were to leave^ we 
returned to our people at Arorangi. Several of the young 
men in the Institution were appointed to proceed with us to 
the westward islands, to be located as opportunity offered as 

Isaia, the son of Papeiha, had been in the boarding-school 
under my care for seven years, and was desirous to go 
with us. At first both Mrs. Gill and I declined, but his 
desire was very strong, and liis father and mother and 
Tinomana, his grandfather, were all willing ; we were, there- 
fore, led to consent. He accompanied us to England, and 
remained three years before returning home. He afterwards 
became the pastor of the church at Arorangi. 

Towards the latter part of October a farewell meeting was 
held, in expectation of the early arrival of the missionary 
ship to take us on our voyage. I preached from the text, 
"The Lord watch between me and thee," &c. Several of the 
deacons and elders gave short addresses full of deep affection 
and concern, and all expressing hope that we soon might be 
restored to them. 

On November 13th the final farewell was made. It was a 
trying time both to us and to the people. But we trusted in 
God that we were following His guidance, and we endeavoured 
to comfort ourselves and the dear natives in His love. We 
embarked at three p.m. Many boats and canoes accompanied 
us to the ship. 

Atiu and Aitutaki. 

Three days' sail from Earotonga brought us to Atiu ; leaving 

Atiu, twenty-four hours' sail brought us to Aitutaki. After 

spending a pleasant day or two with the people, and appointing 

four young men to proceed to the Institution at Earotonga, we 

sailed on to Maniiki, the island where we had sent teachers 

two years before. Mine was the first visit of an English 

missionary to the island. We found our teachers well, and 

they had had a good entrance for their Gospel work among 

the poor heathen people. Schools were well attended, many, 

both adults and children, had learnt to read, a chapel had 


2 74 Selections from 

been built, and several natives had been baptized, and others 
were candidates for baptism. 

It was our privil^e to land onQ hundred Bibles and New 
Testaments in the Barotongan language. This island is one 
of a group of many small low reef islands ; it is 600 miles 
from Barotonga. The education and Christian advance of the 
I)eople were most pleasing to witness. 

• • • • • 


Four days after leaving Maniiki we came to the island of 
Manuka, the most eastern island of the Samoan Group. Our 
excellent native pastor, Taunga,was in health and doing well, 
and was evidently much respected by the people. This island 
was made a mission station in 1838, when the natives were 
in heathenism. Here we found a small schooner trading in 
arrowroot and oil, the captain of which had lost his life by the 
upsetting of his boat while going on shore only a few days 
before our arrival. At the earnest request of the crew, we 
put on board one of our ship's officers to take the little 
vessel to Upolu. 

Leaving Manuka our vessel sailed to Tutuila. Here we 
took in oil and arrowroot, missionary contributions of the 
people, and next day took on board the missionaries 
Messrs. Powell and Sunderland, who were going to attend 
meetings at Upolu. 

We reached Upolu on Sunday morning and cast anchor in 
Apia Bay. Here we found an Italian brig, wliich had brought 
a Eoman Catholic bishop and landed the first instalment of 
Eoman CathoUc priests on the island of Samoa. 


Eecent civil disturbances among the tribes had sadly 
hindered the work of the missionaries. There' is no king nor 
chief. The people live in clans of from 100 to 500 in each, and 
each clan has its head, and is independent of the others. This 
political division is a cause of religious disunion ; the germs 
of future evil also are fostered by the presence — in this the 
infantile Christian state of the people — of Boman Catholic 

The Rev. W. GiWs Autobiography. 275 

missionaries, and the residence of many irreligious traders of 
^i£ferent nationalities. 

Our second Sunday at Upolu was spent in services. In 
the forenoon I preached in the chapel on shore; in the 
afternoon I held a service with all the Earotongan natives who 
were with us and those residing at Apia, about a hundred 
in all ; in the evening I preached on the deck of our mission 
^hip from the text : " I have taken from thine hand the cup 
of trembling, and thou shalt no more drink it again." I also 
held a Communion service with some of the crew and other 

Next day, whUe descending the sliip's side to take boat 
ibr the shore, my foot slipped, and I fell into the sea. Not 
heing able to swim, I sank, and was drawn by the tide under 
the ship, and, but for the timely aid of the carpenter, I 
should have been drowned. 

* During our stay at Upolu, I visited the institution at 
Malua, then under the care of Dr. Turner and Mr. Hardie. 
More than one hundred students and scholars were receiving 
•instruction. A fine piece of land, sixty acres, had been 
bought for the erection of houses for students and for lecture- 
Tooms. The institution seemed to be prospering, and gave 
hope for the future of Samoa. 

Two or three days were spent at a distant station, Saluapata, 
in company with the whole missionary staff, in committee. 
An important movement was set on foot while we were 
there — ^viz., the purchase of land at Apia, on which to erect 
a school-house for the education of half-caste children of 
foreigners married to native women. The cost was £200. 

Leaving Upolu, we sailed to Savaii, took on board five 
tons of oil — contributions of the natives to the Bible Society 
And London Missionary Society — ^and had a pleasant visit to 
the station of Matautu. 


Ten days' sail brought us to the island of Aneiteum. This 

is the most eastern island of the New Hebrides. My last 

visit here was in 1846, when the people were all in heathenism, 


276 Selections from 

and we were only able to land native Christian teacliers. 
Now, after six years' labour, we were cheered to find a very 
large proportion of the people under Christian instruction ; 
many had been baptized, a small church had been formed, 
and Messrs. Geddie and Inglis were residing on the island. 
Our ship's party spent the greater part of two days on shore, 
and were cheered and much encouraged by the advance made 
and the prospects of further success. Here we gained infor- 
mation of the work of the teachers at the islands of Tanna 
and Eromanga, and, while not so advanced as at Aneiteum, 
there was progress and hope. The missionary work of 
the New Hebrides is passed over by the London Missionary 
Society to the care of the United Presbyterian churches of 
Scotland and Nova Scotia, under whose auspices the mis- 
sionaries now there are labouring. 

Akrival at Sydney. 

On the 5th of January, 1853, we cast anchor in Sydney 
Harbour. We were soon boarded by Eev. Dr. Eoss, Eev. D- 
Beazley, my old friend G. A. Uoyd, and others interested in 
our Grospel work. They each, and all, gave us a hearty 
welcome, and assured us of some weeks of work in Sydney 
and other places, to rehearse to the people our report of 
the islands. Our native chief, Setephano, and Isaia, his 
nephew, were much excited and interested at what they saw 
in this new world of English life and civilisation. 

A programme of meetings was soon made, and I was 
obliged to begin again to speak English. Eor many years I 
had been speaking Earotongan, and was now thinking in that 
language, so that I felt not quite at home in English ; but I 
had to begin. Our first meeting was the annual assembly di 
the British and Foreign Bible Society, I was able to report 
the progress of Bible translation in Tahiti, Samoa, and the 
New Hebrides ; and, also, the fact that I had in my charge the 
first edition of the Earotongan Bible, to be revised and re- 
printed in England, if I should proceed thither. At this 
Bible-meeting £300 were collected for the Bible Society. 

On the second Sunday was held the anniversary ser- 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 277 

vices of the London Missionary Society. In the morning 
I preached at Pitt Street Chapel: Isa. xli. 14, 15—1. The 
difficulties of our Gospel work among the heathen ; 2. The 
fewness Q,nd feebleness of our labourers; and 3. The 
precious and ever-fulfilling promise of God in regard to the 

In the evening I preached at Bedfem. On the follow- 
ing day a public meeting was held in Pitt Street Chapel, 
and a very large attendance gathered. I attempted to give 
an account of the pleasing state of Barotonga and Samoa, 
and the urgent claims of the Kew Hebrides, and especially 
the Loyalty Islands, and was much gratified by the response 
of the people to our appeals — £1,004 were contributed 
specially to encourage the Directors of the London Missionary 
Society to send at once two missionaries to the islands of 
Mar4 and Lifu, of the Loyalty Group. 

I was much interested in visiting Mr. Oakes, one of the 
Society's first missionaries to Tahiti. He was living at 
Paramatta, and was in his eighty-fourth year — weak in body, 
l>ut full of lively interest about the natives and island. 

We spent a week in holding missionary meetings at Mait- 
land and other towns some distance up the Hunter Eiver. 

We assisted at the Baptist chapel, Sydney, at which £40 
were collected. At the Wesleyan chapel service I mentioned 
that the poor native teacher at Maniiki wanted a boat, and 
X30 were at once collected to purchase one for him. 

Our two months' stay in Sydney and its neighbourhood was 
marked by a new era in missionary enterprise. There was a 
xevival in the churches of aU denominations, and the work 
and claims of missions, especially to the islands, were brought 
l3efore the attention of the population as they had not been 


Leaving Sydney. 

The one anxiety that brought us to Sydney was Mrs. Gill's 
continued ill-health. The voyage from the islands to Sydney 
had had but little influence for good. She was very ill during 
the whole of our stay in Sydney, and the decided advice of all 
the medical men we consulted there was that we should con- 
tinue the voyage to England. 

278 The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 

At length we saw it our duty to decide on this advice, 
and a passage was taken on board the fine ship Waterloo. 
My old friend George Alfred Lloyd kindly fitted up our cabin, 
and many friends vied with each other to show us kindness, 
and thus to testify their interest in our missionary work. 
After two months' most pleasant change we set sail for 
England on April 5th, 1853, accompanied by Isaia. 

Getting outside Sydney Heads we had a strong contrary 
wind, and were in great danger for some time of drifting- 
near the shore. We cast anchor in deep water, just in 
time to be safe. The roar of the surf dashing on the rocks 
was heard aU night. It was in this dangerous place 
Captain Green lost liis ship some ten years afterwards, when' 
he and all on board, save one, were drowned. 

The morning brought us a favourable wind, and we set sail' 
for England. 

The. Voyage to England. 

We found our fellow-passengers mostly very agreeable- 
people. It was arranged that on Sunday mornings the 
Doctor should read the Church of England prayers, and that 
I should preach on Sunday evenings. This plan was pursued 
during the whole voyage. 

After a few days on board I arranged with myself the 
daily division of time — ^various hours for walking exercise on 
deck ; at times free conversation with fellow-voyagers, both 
passengers and sailors; a pretty regular time for reading; 
an hour or two daily revising the Scriptures for reprint in 
England ; and at times an occasional writing of sermons and 
addresses in prospect of work in England. 

Thus three months were pleasantly spent on board. Off 
the Falkland Islands we had a gale, but in rounding Cape 
Horn we had fine weather, with fair winds. For a week we 
had to keep a good look-out to escape icebergs, some of which 
were so near the ship as sensibly to affect the atmosphere. 
The change and rest from past years' ordinary work quite 
restored my health, and Mrs. GiU was much benefited by 
the voyage, and through mercy we were permitted to land in 
London on June 16th, 1853. 




On landing at Blackwall, after so long an absence, all 
seemed very strange. I had never seen a railway-train 
before I left, and the East End Blackwall train waited to 
receive us. We were more disposed to examine it than to 
enter. At the ringing of the five minutes' announcement- 
bell we took our seats, when Isaia, hearing the bell ring 
again previous to departure, asked if we were going to have 
prayers before we started. 

Arriving at Fenchurch Street Station, we took cab to the 
Mission House, and had a welcome from our old pastor and 
constant friend. Dr. Tidman, and then visited our parents at 
their homes. Dear Mr. Devonshire, Mrs. Gill's step-father, 
was at the time dangerously ill, which was the only drawback 
to the pleasure of our return. 

For some time we were half-bewildered by the hurry, 
bustle, and noise of London life after our long residence abroad. 
Our life had been one of constant activity, but we had less 
noise and confusion. At first we could scarcely realise that 
we were so far from the islands and the natives, and had 
daily longing to return to them. We were soon visited by 
our numerous kind friends, who all seemed to vie with each 
other to show us attentions. Calls and letters came from all 
quarters, and as soon as house matters were arranged we 
found that plenty of work was at hand to be done. 

Service at Barbican Chapel. 

The second Sunday after my arrival I had the pleasure of 
preaching, morning and evening, at Barbican Chapel, dear by 
so many early associations. But, alas! how changed 1 — Dr. 

2 So Selections from 

Tidman had left, the chapel was half-empty, and the schools far 
from so full as in former years. Still, notwithstanding all the 
drawbacks, I had pleasure in taking my first public service 
in England there. My morning text was Gten. xxxv. 3, " Let 
us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar 
unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and 
who was with me all the way that I went." In the evening, 
Ps. cxxvL 3, *' The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof 
we are glad/' 

As Mrs. Gill was not well, and I had the prospect of being 
from home so often, we decided for awhile to reside with Mr. 
and Mrs. Devonshire, who also were able to make room for 

The Eev. A. Buzacott, on his return to Barotonga, had 
taken out the first complete edition of the Earotongan Bible. 
This edition was fast being sold to the natives before I left 
the islands, and I was enabled to bring to England the sum 
of £230 towards payment to the Bible Society for the outlay 
made by them for that edition. It was requested that the 
Bible Society would aid me in putting a second edition through 
the press during my stay in England. This request was 
presented and acceded to. I also engaged to attend Bible 
Society meetings as often as my other engagements would 

The first seven months after our arrival in England were 
occupied in attending missionary meetings in various parts 
of the country on behalf of the London Missionary Society. 
During this period I took part in no less than 136 services 
and meetings. Isaia accompanied me on most of my tours. 

In 1864, on the occasion of the annual meeting at Exeter 
Hall, I had the honour of narrating my missionary experiences 
to an interested audience, and at the subsequent evening 
meeting Isaia gave a speech in his own language, which I 
interpreted as he proceeded. The rest of the year was spent 
in attending meetings in the provinces advocating the cause 
of the Society. 

In 1855, the second revision of the Barotongan Bible was 
undertaken by Dr. Mellor, and I was appointed to confer 
with him in the work. When completed five thousand copies 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 281 

T¥^ere printed, and I had the pleasure of presenting a copy to 
Xiord Shaftesbury at the Bible Society's annual meeting in 
that year. The writing of the "Gems firom the Coral 
Islands" occupied a great deal of my time during the year, 
which was an exceptionally busy one, for I still continued 
my deputation work for the Society without interruption. 

In the summer of 1855 we received the three eldest boys 
of my brother George from the islands ; they were sent to 
England to be educated, and remained under our charge until 
my brother's return home in 1860. 

In 1856, the first complete edition of my work, " Gems 
from the Coral Islands," was published, and it was gratifying 
to receive testimonies of their appreciation of it from 
numerous kind friends throughout the kingdom. 

At the annual meetiag of the London Missionary Society 
in Exeter Hall in 1856, Isaia again gave an address which 
I interpreted. He was listened to with the deepest interest, 
and his speech was not the least important feature of the 

About tliis time, owing to Mrs. Gill's weak health, we 
seriously entertained the project of remaining in England 
instead of returning to the South Sea Islands, and intimated 
our purpose to the Directors of the London Missionary 
Society, who fell in with our wishes without any opposition. 

This year (1856) saw the severance of my connection with 

the much-loved London Missionary Society. I will not 

attempt to describe my feelings when, after so many years of 

service in the cause of missions, it was decided that we 

should not return to the field of labour which was so dear to 

our hearts, and round which hung so many memories yielding 

pleasure in the retrospection, and exciting thankfulness to 

the All-Wise, whose hand had shielded us from the manifold 

dangers we had passed through, and whose love had guided 

us during our wanderings in those remote parts of the 



In April, 1856, 1 preached missionary sermons at Ebenezer 
Chapel, Woolwich, a church which at that time was without a 
minister. A few days afterwards I received overtures from the 

282 Selections from 

deacons of the church to become its pastor, and, after many- 
interviews and much correspondence on the subject, I wa» 
led, under God's guidance, to accept the very cordial invitation 
which was given me. This decision was not arrived at till 
the beginning of Auguat. We took up our abode in Mulgrave- 
Place, Woolwich, during the autumn. 

On the 6th of October I preached my first sermon at 
Ebenezer Chapel as the pastor of that church. 

The church began rapidly to increase, and in 1857, a 
project, which had often been mooted, was seriously under- 
taken, and a suitable plot of land was secured by the 
generous assistance of Mr. Tame, my senior deacon, for the 
building of a new church to meet the demands of our 
growmg congregation. 

On November 3rd, 1858, it was our pleasure to witness 
th^ laying of the memorial stone of the new chapel by ray- 
old friend George Alfred Lloyd. The following is an account 
of the ceremony, which appeared iu a local newspaper :- 

" The ceremony of laying the comer-stone of the chapel about to he- 
erected in Rectory Place, for the accommodation of the congregation 
now worshipping at Ebenezer Chapel, William Street, was performed on 
Wednesday afternoon by George Alfred Lloyd, Esq., of Sydney, New 
South Wales, in the presence of a large concourse of spectators,, 
including several of the ministers of the town, the metropolis, and the- 

" The following is a description of the edifice : — 

" The buildings will cover an area of 120 feet long by 44 feet wide at 
the front, increasing to 60 feet wide at the back, and comprise a chapel 
to seat 850 persons, a week-evening lecture-room to hold 230 persons 
(this \vill also be the girls' school-room), a boys' school-room for 130, a 
separate room for the superintendent, an infant school-room for 65, a 
gentlemen's committee-room or library 20 feet by 13 feet, a minister'^ 
vestry, a deacons' vestry, boiler-room, and store-room, the whole so- 
arranged as to form a most complete and compact building. 

" It is designed from the decorated period of Qothic architecture, and 
will present an imposing appearance ; in the centre of the principal 
front there will be a tower and spire and three clock faces ; the main 
entrance will be under this tower, by a handsome doorway with three- 
columns on each side, and deeply recessed and enriched with arch- 
mouldings and pinnacles. Right and left of the entrance will b& 
picturesque porches in advance of the main wall ; from these the stair • 
cases will lead to the galleries ; the floor wiU be slightly raised as it 
recedes from the pulpit 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 283- 

** The form of the chapel is a parallelogram with transepts, and will* 
l>e 62 feet long in the clear between walls, and 38 feet wide, except at 
transepts, where it will be 47 feet wide. There will be a gallery on 
eacli side and also at the front The roof will span the whole width 
between the walls, thus avoiding the necessity for other than small iron 
columns to support the gallery. , Immediately at the back of the chapel,. 
and extending its whole width, will be a corridor 6 feet wide, having an 
entrance from Rectory Grove ; the corridpr will communicate with the- 
library or committee-room, the superintendent's room, and school-room, 
and the minister's and deacons' vestries. At the south end of the 
corridor will be a staircase leading to the lecture-room and ladies' com- 
mittee-room. This lecture-room will be 40 feet by 27 feet, and 52 feet 
high, with open timbered roof. 

** The materials used are Kentish rag stone, with Bath stone dressings, 
&c. ; the walls internally will be stuccoed, and the ceiling plastered 
between the purlins ; the pews will have doors, and the whole of the 
^^oodwork will be stained and varnished. 

** The cost will be about £ZfiOO, The architects are Messrs. Lander- 
& Bedells, of 4, Great James Street, Bedford Row ; and the builders*. 
Messrs. McLennan & Bird, of Osnaburgh Street, Regent's Park. 

" The proceedings were commenced by the singing of an appropriate 
hymn, which was read by the Rev. J. Hall, of Chatham, after which the- 
Rev. Charles Gilbert, of Erith, read the 132nd psalm, and the 1st chapter,, 
1st epistle to the Thessalonians. 

" James Pearce, Esq., solicitor, of Rectory Place, one of the deacons, 
then read the following statement of the origin and history of Ebenezer- 
Chapel up to the present time : — 

"This cause was originated by Thomas Robert Richardson, James 
Dadswell, James S. Miskin, William Irwin, Joseph Slack, Christmas^ 
King, Thomas Mann, and William Farebrother, eight Sunday-school 
teachers, who after the most serious, solemn, and prayerful consideration,, 
extending over a period of several months, met on the 5th of April, 1852,. 
and unanimously passed the following resolution, viz. : — * That by the 
strength and grace of God, we resolve to establish another Sabbath- 
school, and, if practicable, another Christian interest upon Congregational 
principles.' The Sunday-school was opened on Lord's-day, April 25th,. 
when no less than 136 children attended. At a committee-meeting on 
the 26th of April, it was resolved — * That a juvenile missionary associa- 
tion be formed in connection with the school ; ' * That a Dorcas society 
be formed under the management of the ladies ; ' * That a library be* 
provided for the use of the scholars contributing |d. per month.' 

"On the 3rd of May it was resolved Hhat a Christian Instruction 
Association be formed in connection with the committee.' 

" On the 20th of July a large room, built for an auction-room, in 
William Street, Woolwich, was hired of Messrs. Church & Son, when 
Mr. Tame, the chairman of the meetings, kindly lent the necessary^ 

284 Selections from 

4unoimt to fit up the place for Divine worsliip, such amount to be 
retained when convenient^ without any interest being paid for the 
same. The room having been fitted up as a chapel, and the name 
Ebenezer Chapel given to it. 

'' On the 23rd of August, 1852, a meeting was held in Ebenezer Chape!, 
when, after devotional services, the following resolution was unanimously 
adopted, viz. : — ' That the undersigned Christian friends solemnly 
record their heartfelt gratitude and praise to Almighty God for the 
signal guidance and blessings vouchsafed to them, and feeling that 
hitherto and thus far the Lord hath helped them, and in humble, but 
firm, dependence upon Divine grace and assistance for the future, now 
resolve to unite together in church fellowship, and to form a Christian 
church upon Independent or Congregational principles in accordance 
with the New Testament Scriptures to worship God at Ebenezer Chapel, 
William Street, Woolwich, and they do hereby unite together and form 
themselves into a Christian church accordingly.' — Signed by forty-two 

" The friends present having signed the resolution, Mr. Tame inti- 
mated that, the church being now formed, the meeting should resolve 
itself into a church-meeting, and the meeting resolved itself into a 
church-meeting accordingly, when, amongst other things, it was resolved 
unanimously — ' That six deacons should be chosen at the next church- 
meeting.' At a church-meeting, held in Ebenezer Chapel on the 3rd 
•of September, Messrs. Tame, Richardson, Smart, Boylen, Saw, and 
Dadswell were chosen to the office of deacons. The churman then 
4innounced that it had been arranged (d.v.) to open the chapel on 
Tuesday, the 7th of September inst, and that the ministers who had 
kindly engaged to preach on that occasion were the Bev. P. Thompson, 
A.M., of Chatham, in the morning, and the Rev. S. Martin, of West- 
minster, in the evening. On the 7th of September, the opening services 
were accordingly held in the morning at Ebenezer Chapel, at which the 
Revs. T. Timpson, Independent minister, of Lewisham ; J. Cox, of 
Woolwich ; P. Thompson, A.M., Independent minister, of Chatham ; W. 
Lucey, Independent minister, of Greenwich ; W. M. Thompson, Presby- 
terian minister, of Woolwich ; W. Woodlands, Independent minister, of 
Woolwich ; R. Thompson and Close, Wesleyans, of Woolwich, took 
part. In the evening the services were held in the Wesleyan chapel, 
William Street, kindly lent for the occasion, when the Rev. R. 
Thompson, Wesleyan minister of the chapel ; Samuel Martin, Inde- 
pendent minister, and the Rev. Mr. Close took part in the services. On 
Sunday, the 12th September, 1852, the first ordinary public worship 
was hdd in the chapel, when the Rev. A. Stuart, of Palmer House, 
HoUoway, preached morning and evening, and the attendance on both 
-occasions was very encouraging. The church continued to grow, and, 
having invited the Rev. S. Hebditch, of Ashburton, to the pastorate, on 
Sunday, the 24th of April, he commenced his stated ministry amongst 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography. 285 

US ; he continued with us, labouring zealously and succ^ssfolly, till the 
2 let October, 1855, when, having received a call to Arley Chapel, 
Bristol, he resigned his pastorate here. God, in His great goodness 
and mercy, still preserved the church, though it was exercised with 
many trials till the 4th of August, 1856, when the Rev. W. Gill, 
formerly missionary, Rarotonga, South Sea Islands, accepted the 
invitation of the church to become its pastor, and entered upon his 
stated ministry on Sunday, the 6th of October, 1856. By the blessing 
of Gk>d on his ministry, and the other means of grace used, the church 
has had added to it £rom time to time such as shall be saved, twenty- 
eight members being added to the church during the iirst year, and 
thirty-five during the second year of his ministry. The chapel being 
thus filled to overflowing, great efforts were made to obtain a suitable 
site to build a larger and more commodious place of worship, God in 
His good providence ultimately directed us to this spot, when our 
friend and deacon, Mr. Thomas Tame, now lamented by us as dead, and 
yet rejoiced over, for * behold he liveth for evermore,' kindly and liber- 
ally gave £1,000 stock, subject to the Government interest only to be 
I>aid to him and Mrs. Tame during their joint and separate lives, to 
enable us to buy the land at a cost of not less than j£l,100. At a church 
meeting held on the 3rd February, 1858, James Pearce, Josiah Smith, 
and Thomas Robert Richardson were duly appointed trustees, and the 
conveyances have been made to them, and they have executed the usual 
deed of trust. On the 13th September, 1858, they executed the con- 
tract for the buildings with Messrs. McLennan & Bird, of Regent's 
Park, London. On the 1st September, 1858, James Pearce, Robert 
Devonshire, and William Irwin were chosen deacons, and on the 
3rd November, 1858, this stone was laid by G. A. Lloyd, Esq., of 
Sydney, and these particulars, with a copy of the trust deed, were 
deposited within a bottle in the stone. Architects — ^Messrs. Lander 
& Bedells, 4, Great James Street, Bedford Row. 

"statement of doctrine. 

"1. The Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and their sole 
authority and entire sufficiency as the rule of faith and practice. 

" 2. The unity of God with the proper Deity of the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Ghost. 

" 3. The universal and total depravity of man in the sight of God, 
and his exposure to eternal death as the wages of sin. 

" 4. The incarnation of the Son of God, the sufficiency of His Atone- 
ment for sin, and free justification by Mth alone in Him. 

" 5. The absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit's grace and power for 
man's regeneration and sanctification. 

"6. The predestination, according to God's gracious purpose, of a 
multitude that no man can number unto eternal salvation, which in no 
way interferes with the use of means, or with man's responsibility. 

a 86 Selections from 

^' 7. The immutable authority of the law of Qod as the rule of humau 

" 8. The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the dead, and 
the final judgment, when the wicked ' shall go away into everlastiiig 
punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.' 

" Gteorge Alfred Lloyd, Esq., then received the beautiful silver trowel 
from the hands of Mr. Devonshire, by whom it had been presented 
to the congregation, and by them to Mr. Lloyd ; the mallet, square, &c., 
from Mr. Bird, the builder, and the sealed bottle containing the docu- 
ments from the Rev. William Gill, the minister of the congregation, 
the presentation being in each case accompanied by a short and appro- 
priate address. The trowel, which is of the value of eight guineas, bears 
this inscription : — * Presented to Geobge Alfbbd Llotd, Esq., on tlie 
•occasion of his laying the Inscription Stone of Rectory Place Chapel, 
Woolwich, November 3rd, 1858. — Rev. W. Gill, Pastor, late of Raro- 
tonga. South Sea Islands.' 

" G. Alfred Lloyd, Esq., then rose and said — The position I occupy 
this morning demands some explanation why a comparative stranger 
should accept an office which would have been so much more appropriately- 
performed by one of the members of this church and congregation, 
I resisted the invitation of this church as long as I could do so with 
propriety, but the more I declined, the more determined they seemed to 
have me and nobody else ; and when I tell you the reasons by which, 
they were influenced, you may feel that possibly they had a right to 
demand my services. The pastor of this church is my oldest friend. 
It was in his society that I first determined to dedicate myself to the 
love and service of Christ It was with him that I first became a Sabbath- 
■school teacher — that I walked to the house of God in company, and 
listened to the blessed truths of the Gospel from the lips of one whom. 
I rejoice to see amongst us to-day. With him I have frequently knelt 
in early life to implore the strength which was necessary to resist 
temptation, the grace that we needed to keep us faithful, and the 
blessing of God upon our laboiu^ as Sabbath-school teachers. When 
I left this country, there were no prayers more earnest than his for my 
preservation over the mighty deep. After he had devoted himself to 
*he missionary work, it was my privilege to welcome him in a far 
distant land, on the way to tfie scene of his labours ; and after he had 
successfully laboured for years, and was compelled by the failure of 
his wife's health to return to his native land, he again paid me a visit, 
And was an inmate of my house for several weeks. On my return to 
these shores, he took the earliest opportimity of welcoming me by a 
«ermon, which I shall never forget, from the words — 'Arise, and let us 
go up to Bethel, and let us build an altar unto God, who answered me 
in the day of my distress, and was with me all the way that I went.' 
If I had the power, I would return the compliment, and preach him 
a sermon from the same text^ than which nothing could be more 

The Rev, TV. GilVs Autobiography. 287 

•appropriate on the present occasion. And now I find him the pastor of 
a church and congregation in this town, where his labours have been so 
abundantly blessed that it has become necessary to find larger space for 
the numbers that throng to his ministry. Under these circumstances, 
you will, I hope, admit that I may be pardoned for taking so prominent 
a, position as I now occupy. I proceed, then, to lay this foundation stone, 
and in doing so I congratulate you that Gkxl has put it into your hearts 
to erect a house to His glory. I shall not dare to touch upon subjects 
which will be so much better brought before you by the gentleman who 
is to follow me, but I may say that I lay this stone with confidence, 
because I believe that within these walls nothing will be preached but 
the pure, simple doctrines of the Gospel as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Because here I beheve that the pastor will have but one object in view — 
-and that the grandest object for which a human being can live, namely, 
to be made instrumental in the conversion of souls — and because I 
beheve that, as God has blessed him in days that are passed, so He will 
-continue to bless him in days that are to come. And while we lay this 
<5omer-stone in faith and prayer, may the blessing of God so rest upon 
those who shall be engaged in raising the funds, and His watchful care 
«o preserve those engaged in raising the building, that when the top 
^tone is brought forth we may all have reason to unite in shoutings of 
$5race, ' Grace unto it !' And when in days to come you assemble within 
these walls to lift up your hearts in praise and prayer, may the in- 
fluences of the Holy Spirit constantly attend you ; may the blessing 
of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost ever abide 
■with you ; and, as one after another of those engaged in this noble work 
shall be called to their great account, may it be with a * Well done, 
^ood and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful in a few things ; I will 
make thee ruler over many things ; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!' 
I receive this handsome present with many thanks, and shall hope 
to hand it down to my children as a token of your kindness, and a 
memorial of the interesting events of the day. 

" Mr. Lloyd then deposited the bottle in a chamber beneath the stone, 
and the stone was then lowered into its proper place, Mr. Lloyd using 
his trowel, mallet, and square in an artistic manner. He then declared 
the stone laid in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost The 
stone bears an inscription recording the event. 

" The Rev. Dr. Spence said they had been engaged in a work the 
results of which would be beneficial to mankind in ages to come. The 
question might arise from a stranger to their object who might be 
present, *What mean ye by these services?' and to this the answer 
would undoubtedly be that they had been laying the comer-stone of 
a new sanctuary. They might then be asked, *Are there not aheady 
many churches for the worship of God in the land, and why have you 
resolved to have your own church, pastor, and office-bearers ]' He 
would answer that it was for the sake of EvangeHcal truth, for the sake 

288 Selections frotn 

of TolimtarY religion, and for Congregational chnrcli fellowsliip. The 
doctrines of their faith were man's ruin, redemption, and regeneration^ 
these being the essential principles of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus 
Christ The erection of any number of churches could not be an injnry^ 
for the multiplication of good could do no harm, and, unless they had a 
sufficient number of such places of worship, what guarantee had they 
that the Gospel would be faithfully preached in after-years in those 
already in existence % The erection of this church would be an example 
of their principle of yoluntary religion, for the funds required would be 
raised by no tax on the inhabitants, but its unostentatious spire woidd 
seem to say to the passer-by, ' God loveth a cheerful giyer ; ' and his 
people are doing this work with the means God has blessed them with, 
without any Act of Parliament to make a compulsory levy. God received 
the gifts of the poorest beggar and the richest nobility only as they were 
given voluntarily. The movement was for the sake of church fellow- 
ship, congenial souls being drawn together on equal terms, operating for 
their general good, and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom, appointing 
their own pastor and office-bearers, thus forming themselves into what 
they believe to be a Christian church. But, though differing in minor 
matters with Christians of other denominations, they loved all who 
loved the Lord Jesus Christ, and rejoiced at the multiplying of all 
places where His name was proclaimed. He wished this place every 
prosperity, though such a desire might be deemed a superfluity so long 
as they had their present estimable pastor among them, and fervently 
hoped that the sanctuary to be raised on the spot where they then stood 
might ere long be thronged with a crowd of worshippers, and might be 
the birthplace of many souls to the Lord God Almighty. 

"The Rev. W. Lister, of Lewisham, then offered prayer, and a 
number of the Sabbath-school children who were present having sung 
a hymn, the proceedings were concluded by prayer by the Rev. C. 
Dukes, of Dalston. 

" The weather was beautifully fine, and a spacious marquee erected 
as a protection in the event of rain was only serviceable to screen the 
ministers officiating and a portion of the spectators from the rays of 
the sun, which shone out brightly and warmly during the whole 

" At five o'clock, a tea-meeting was held at the Town Hall, William 
Street, when about three hundred persons sat down to a comfortable 
repast, and about seven o'clock, the tables being removed, a public 
meeting was held. G. A. Lloyd, Esq., was appointed chairman, and 
there were also on and around the platform the Rev. W. Gill, minister 
of Ebenezer Chapel ; Rev. H. Crassweller, Revs. Messrs. Woodland, 
Dukes, Lister, Dr. Tidman, Smith, Gilbert, and Lucey ; Messrs. Pearce, 
solicitor ; R. Devonshire, J. GiU, Jackson, Boylen, Elkin, G. Cann, and 
several other ministers and gentlemen. 

** Prayer being offered by the Rev. W. Woodland, 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography, 289 

"The Chairman said an arrangement had been made among the 
gentlemen who would have to address them that evening that no 
speech should occupy more than ten minutes, and he would set an ex- 
ample of brevity by confining his remarks to five minutes. He was not 
accustomed to reading written speeches, and that afternoon while con- 
ducting the ceremony in which they had been engaged he had nearly 
failed in the attempt. He would here remark that it would be, in his 
opinion, exceedingly advantageous if all ministers would abolish the 
practice of reading written sermons. They had that day been engaged 
in a most important work the beneficial results emanating from which 
none of them could properly estimate. Amongst the thoughts which 
had been suggested to his mind by those services he had been led to 
reflect that he was in a town in which was situated the Arsenal of this 
nation, in which were constructed the munitions of war for the de- 
struction of human life ; while they, on the contrary, had been engaged 
in commencing a structure the object of which was the spread of peace 
and life. In the Arsenal were also made the rockets and lines which 
were used for the preservation of life from shipwreck, he having this 
week made application there for such an apparatus for the country to 
which he belonged, New South Wales. In a like manner, in the build- 
ing of which they had that day laid the comer-stone, their pastor would 
throw out the lines of truth for the salvation of souls. They were close 
by a mighty river, the centre of the world's commerce, on which were 
employed many sailors, and, as he reflected that those sailors gazed to- 
wards the lighthouse which guided them home, he was led to contem- 
plate that in the building which was now being erected would be held 
forth that light which would save them from the rocks and quicksands 
which beset this life, and guide them at last into the haven of happiness 
and peace. Whenever he saw a soldier his heart glanced with warmth 
towards him, for he felt that he was under an obligation to him for the 
protection and peace which his family enjoyed. He was happy to see 
many of the military present on that occasion, and trusted that they 
would be represented by a goodly number in the congregation of the new 
sanctuary. He concluded by wishing their enterprise every success. 

" Mr. Richardson said he had been deputed to lay before the meeting 
an outline of the history of this movement, and he would proceed to do 
so in as concise a" manner as the brief period in which he was allowed 
to occupy their attention would admit of. Between seven and eight 
years ago, a Christian community in the town became tmsettled, and 
the harmony and happiness which had for years been enjoyed by the 
congregation was disturbed. A crisis at length arrived, and eight 
young men (Sabbath-school teachers), feeble in nimibers and position, 
but strong in purpose, considered their duty to God and the Church 
demanded that they should withdraw from the fellowship. On the 5th 
of April, 1852, after an hour's devotion, these young men rose from their 
knees impressed with the conviction that it was their duty to form 


290 Selections from 

tlieiDBelTes into another Christian community. They established a 
Sunday-school at the lecture-hall, the use of which the proprietors 
honourably granted at a mere nominal charge. On Sunday, the 25th of 
April, the school was commenced, when it was attended by 136 children, 
the numbers gradually increasing until they now maintained a school 
of about three hundred. The originators of the movement were 
assisted by many others, amongst whom was their late kind, pious, 
and excellent friend, Mr. Tame, by whose advice they solicited and 
obtained the sympathy of many of the ministers in the neighbourhood. 
On the 20th of July they resolved, at a meeting called for the purpose 
at Queen Street Chapel school-rooms, to form another interest on 
Congregational principles. They obtained a room in William Street, 
used as Messrs. Church's auction-rooms, for which they agreed to 
pay a rent of £50 per annum ; and £147, which Mr. Tame generously 
advanced without interest, was spent in fitting it up. On the 2nd 
of September their first service in the new building was held, and 
from that time until April, 1853, their pulpit was filled by many 
of the most accomplished ministers of the metropolis and neighbour- 
hood. At that time the Kev. S. Hebditch was appointed pastor of the 
congregation, and it was resolved to look out for some site for the 
erection of a building more commensurate with the wante of the in- 
creasing congregation. In 1855, however, Mr. Hebditch was removed to 
Bristol, and they were without a pastor for nearly twelve months. But 
their pulpit was never empty, and not one member of the congregation 
left the flock. On the first Sunday in April, the Rev. William GUI, 
whom none of them had previously seen, but of whose reputation 
all had heard, came down at their desire to preach on the occasion 
of the anniversary of the Missionary Society. The result was love 
at first sight, although at the time they had no expectation that 
lie would remain in England. As soon as it was heard, however, 
that there was a probability of his doing so, a unanimous invi- 
tation was given to him, and on the 25th of July he accepted it, 
officiating as their pastor for the first time on the first Sunday in 
October. He was sure he spoke the feelings of the whole congregation 
when he said that their love was even warmer and stronger towards him 
that day than when they first met him. 

''May he and his partner long live to be instruments of good 
amongst them, and as God had hitherto blessed him in his under- 
takings, so may he continue to be prosperous in all lus undertakings, 
and be the means of turning many souls into the way of salvation. Mr. 
Bichardson then aUuded to the fact that one of the eight Sunday-school 
teachers by whom the nucleus of the congregation was formed was at 
present amongst them in the person of the Bev. James Dadswell, who 
had lately been ordained to a ministry in Berkshire. He also stated that, 
in the six years in which they had been established, the aggr^ate of the 
receipts for the support of the church itself, the schools, the dorcas and 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 291 

missionaiy societies, but exclusive of the sum raised for the new sanc- 
tuary, amounted to ^2,046 198., and 174 persons had been added to their 
jiumbers. These facts showed that Qod was in their midst, and to Him 
be all the praise. 

" Mr. Pearce then proceeded to lay before the meeting the financial 
position of the undertaking, stating that the ground where the site of 
the building had been fixed had cost £1,100, and the contract for the 
erection had been taken at £3,000 ; but, as this did not include many 
•expenses connected with it, the whole cost might be estimated at not less 
than £5,000. Of this, the congregation intended to find £2,000, of which 
they had already collected £1,360, and he thought they could make up 
the remainder without difficulty. From the Christian public they 
had received subscriptions amounting to £324, so that they looked 
to them for only £2,676 more. Messrs. Wilson and Finch, of Tun- 
bridge Wells, have kindly lent £1,500 on mortgage, and the London 
•Chapel Building Society have promised £200 and the " Kent Fund " 
£100. Messrs. Wilson and Finch have promised £50 each if eight 
others will do likewise ; three of these have been obtained, and it was 
earnestly hoped that others would come forward in aid of this object. 
Thus about £1,000 had to be raised before the completion of the work, 
^o as to open the chapel with the burden of the mortgage only. 

'^ The Bev. G. Smith said he had great pleasure in taking a part in 
these services, if it were only for the opportunity it gave him of wishing 
prosperity to their pastor and their cause. Any one who had heard the 
interesting narrative of its progress which had just been laid before them 
•could not doubt for an instant that they had been led on by Divine grace. 
He rejoiced at the preaching of the Gospel by Christians of other denomi- 
nations, to whom this building was not intended as an opposition, but as 
•Congregationalists they were convinced that their principles were right. 
The manner in which they had set about the erection of this building 
was the most legitimate l^ey could adopt. Its cost would not be defrayed 
by a compulsory church rate, they would receive no grant of land from 
•Government, nor would they obtain any contribution from the public 
•exchequer, but, like the Israelites of old built their tabernacle, each 
brought his offering for the common cause. He thought all the in- 
liabitants of this locality of whatever denomination who were favour- 
4ible to the prosperity of their country and the extension of truth 
4should rejoice at this movement, for were not patriotism and piety inti- 
mately connected? Protestant Dissenters were warmly attached to 
their country, and all loved their Queen. They prized those liberties 
of which their fathers laid the foundation in troublous times when 
they were driven by persecution and bigotry on a thorny path into 
heaven. They had received an heirloom, and were bound by many 
obligations to transmit the same to posterity. The church they 
were about to build was for the simple worship of God. They acknow- 
ledged no negative theology, nor attached themselves to any name ; but 


292 ' Selections from 

tliey were nevertheless not ashamed of the name of that great, though 
much calumniated man, John Calvin. He trusted that through the 
instrumentality of this church many sinners would be brought to God, 
consolation would be given to the afflicted, and protection to the orphan. 
'* AUuding to the ornamental nature of the building, the speaker said 
their parents had been compelled by circumstances to build their places 
of worship of a mean and common character, but they had no need now* 
to be a&aid of the light of day. All things were progressing rapidly,, 
and was this a time when the house of God should be inferior in 
appearance to the houses in which they dwelt ] Therefore he thought 
they should make their churches attractive, and concluded by expressing 
a hope that the hand of Gkxl would rest upon their undertaking. 

*< The Chairman announced that Sir Culling Eardley, the Bevs. Dr. 
Campbell, S. Martin, W. M. Thompson, C. Hawson, and several other 
gentlemen, were prevented from being present by illness and other 
unavoidable circumstances. 

" The Rev. Mr. Gilbert, secretary to the Chapel Building Society,, 
then addressed the meeting, appealing to all persons, the warm friends 
of religion generally, and the residents in the town especially, to con- 
tribute towards the work in hand. This was a portion of the metropolis- 
the rapid growth of whose population rendered an imperative necessity 
an increase in the number of their houses of God. The population 
of the metropolis was equal to that of the entire kingdom of Scotland,, 
and was daily increasing, and it had been estimated that, if all the 
churches in its limit, of every denomination, were crowded to excess, 
there would still be more than a million persons unprovided for. He 
rejoiced then that another church was about to be added to the number. 
He expressed his concurrence in the remarks of the previous speaker 
respecting the beautifying of their places of worship, and, alluding to 
the donation of ;£1,000 given by Mr. Tame, exhorted others to a com- 
bined effort for the accomplishment of the object they had in view. He 
perceived that they were a people of faith from the fact of the document 
placed beneath the stone that afternoon, stating that this place of 
worship would be opened for Divine service on the 1st of June, 1858, 
and he hoped that the people of Woolwich would rise and determine 
to accomplish this undertaking as patriots and as Christians; and trusted 
that the day of opening would be also the day of complete emancipation 
from all pecuniary claims. 

" Mr. George Beece, deacon of a chapel in Sydney, New South Wales,, 
said this day's proceedings were the most gratifying to him of any 
he had experienced during his sojourn in this country, and put him in 
mind of an anecdote which he had once heard of two ministers, one 
a Calvinist and the other a Baptist. The Calvinist was riding furiously 
along, when the Baptist said to him, ^A merciful man hath mercy 
towards his beast,' to which the other rejoined, * Whatever thy hand 
findeth to do, do it with all thy heart,' This seemed to be their motto^ 

The Rev. W, Gill's Autobiography. 293 

«nd he hoped that ere long they would be free from all iucumhrance. 
The chairman would be able to confirm his statement that, when a 
•cost of £2fiQ0 was incurred in providing additional seats for a chapel 
in New South Wales, the sum of j£l,600 was raised in one day. He 
hoped and believed that this work would be accomplished, if not so 
easily, as effectively, and that by the 1st of June they would be clear 
•of debt. 

** The Chairman then introduced the Rev. Dr. Tidman to the meeting 
as one whom both the respected pastor of the congregation and himself 
ivere under the deepest obligations to in earlier years. 

« Dr. Tidman said it gave him great pleasure to stand forward as the 
old friend of the Rev. W. Gill and Mr. Lloyd. The recollection of his 
earlier associations with Mr. Gill afforded him exceeding gratification, 
and he had watched his progress through life with unbounded pleasure. 
Should he be spared, he would still remain a faithful minister of Christ, 
.and his prosperity would be midtiplied year by year. He was quite 
^live to the necessity and advantages of having a good edifice in which 
to worship God, but he thought it was just possible that their attention 
might be absorbed by the external appearance too much to admit of 
proper care being taken of that which was of far more importance, — 
the spiritual structure within. He hoped that all who had the 
_power would largely support their object, rejoicing at the oppor- 
tunity afforded tiiem of contributing to the means of extending 
:the glory of God and His salvation to perishing souls around. He 
valued the congregational system of worship, because he considered it 
was calculated to work out the principles of Uie New Testament in the 
freest manner, and he was happy to see that their principles were not 
• confined to themselves, but were rapidly being adopted by other deno- 
minations, and 'by none more than the National Ecclesiastical Church. 
Mr. Smith had told them that they had done this work without asking 
for a State endowment, but, although this was creditable to them, it was 
not so much from the fact that they could not have obtained such 
•endowment if they had applied for it. But, nevertheless, he believed 
that they were better without such assistance, which might only do them 
liarm, as a man who was not in the habit of using his limbs would be 
apt to get stiff as he advanced in years. He did not intend to joiii in 
the crusade against the doctrine of negative theology or any other 
•objectionable creed, believing that the best way of getting rid of such 
'€vils was not to aggravate them. He should rejoice if every place of 
worship in the country were filled, whether they belonged to the estab- 
lished or any other denomination, provided God's truth were preached 
in each, for he was sure the result would be the advancement of the 
glory of God. On the 1st of June, he hoped he should see Mr. Gill look 
.as happy as he did on this occasion, and that he would have even more 
friends around him, feeling confident that, however large their numbers, 
lie deserved them alL 

294 Selections from 

''The Chaiiman said, as Dr. Tidman had referred to State grants, h& 
would just mention that in New South Wales they had refused an. 
offered grant of land and the payment of their minister, but had them- 
selves set to work, and in two days raised the sum of ^£20,000. 

'' The Ber. W. Qill said, as the chairman would now be compelled to- 
leave them, he would annoimce that he had munificently given them a 
donation of £50, forwhich, and for his kindness in conducting the 
ceremony of the afternoon and that evening's proceedings, he would in 
the name of the meeting tender their hearty thanks. 

^ The Chalnnan acknowledged the compliment, expressed his regret at 
being obliged to leave the meeting, and said a Mend of his, also fronk 
Australia, had that morning given him £5 towards the object they had 
in hand. 

'' A collection was then made in the hall, and 

'' Mr. James Pearce, being voted to the chair, announced the receipt of 
a donation of £10 from Mr. Baker, and a like sum from Mr. Qeoige 
Cann, the owner of the house adjoining the new building, and who, 
although connected with a different denomination, had kindly shown 
them every courtesy in their work. 

'' Mr. Devonshire said they had hitherto experienced much encourage- 
ment, and, if they continued in the same spirit, the enterprise must 
prosper. He in common with many others had found it a difficult 
matter to swallow a steeple, but, when men of such superior wis- 
dom were strong advocates that such an ornament should decorate 
their new building, he had felt compelled to determine on doing all he 
could to promote it. He proceeded in a humorous manner to describe 
the progress of his labours on the previous day, stating that from several 
Churchmen he had received liberal donations, and more than one £5- 
for the steeple in addition. He had also received half-a-sovereign 
wrapped in a piece of paper, on which was written, ' For the benefit 
of the good work of the Society of "Independent" Christians. — 
Enonemus.' In the day's work he obtained £15 19s. Unfortunately, 
he came after the great guns of the evening, which made his powers 
of oratory the more insignificant, but he could assure them from his- 
heart that he loved them as well as the best 

" The Bev» W. Dadswell said it had been his privilege to be associated 
with this movement in its infancy, and he rejoiced at the answer which 
had been given to their prayers offered by a lowly few in a lowly room, 
and with a lowly spirit The smile of Qod had, however, rested upon, 
them, and like the grains 6f mustard seed they had grown and flourished* 
He prayed that the blessing of Christ would still rest upon them, 
and, should a cloud of darkness ever fall upon them, that they 
would remember in whose hands they were, and put their confidence in 
Him. He alluded to an incident in his own experience, when in the 
hour of disappointment and trouble God raised him up a friend whom. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 295 

lie had never seen before, and on whom he had no claim, and exhorted 
all to believe that they could accomplish all things by faith. 

^ The Chairman said it might be gratifying to know that the amount 
of subscription during the day, including the sum collected at the laying 
of the stone and in the hall, realised ^£117 5s. 

'' This sum was afterwards considerably increased. 

" The Rev. W. GiU said he perceived from the countenances of those 
l>efore him that they had been refreshed by the proceedings of the day, 
a fact which was the more gratifying to him as the meeting was 
composed of Christians of all denominations, for whatever he did in 
precept or in action was on the broad basis of * Love to all who love 
the Lord Jesus Christ,' in which principle he hoped they should all 
grow as they grew in strength and numbers. He could not expect the 
meeting to enter into his feelings at that moment. Twenty years since 
he left his dear friend Dr. Tidman, and his native land, to go twenty 
tlioiii«iid nules away, and kbour amongst a nation whose inhabitants 
i^ere a few years before amongst the wild and uncivilised on the face of 
the earth. EOLs acquaintance with Mr. Lloyd had commenced before 
that, when four young men (like the eight of whom they had that night 
heard) were in the habit of meeting together for prayer. One of these 
became a missionary, and died at his post in Jamaica ; one was now 
deacon of City Eoad Chapel, London ; the third was Mr. Lloyd, and he 
was himself the fourth. He hoped these instances would be an encourage- 
ment to young men to give themselves to God, who would open the way 
before them, giving them peace of mind which passeth understandings 
and make of them chords vibrating to the glory of God in heaven. He 
was one of four brothers, three of whom were in the ministry. He con- 
cluded by moving a vote of thanks to Mr. G. H. Graham for kindly 
granting them the use of the forms and tables, and also the flowers with 
which the hall was decorated. 

'^ This was carried unanimously ; and, after a vote of thanks to the 
chairman, the happy and successful meeting was closed by prayer and 
the Benediction. 

" Exclusive of a donation of £20 from W. Greig, Esq., London, the 
collection of the day amoimted to X130." 

"letter from the workmen. 

" To the Editor of The Kentish Independent 

" Sir, — ^Will you be so kind as to insert in your journal the following 
letter from the workmen engaged in building the New Congregational 
Chapel, Rectory Place, to the Building Committee of the said chapel, 
and oblige the undersigned. 

« * New Congregational Chapel, Rectory Place, 
" ' Woolwich, Nov. 3rd, 1858. 
"*We, the undersigned, artisans employed in building the above 

296 Selections from 

chapd, tinder Messrs. ficLennan & Bird, builders, b^ most respeotfolly 
to express our grateful thanks to the congregation and committee for the 
kind manner in which they have behaved to us on this day, at the time 
of laying the foundation stone of the edifice, by presenting each of us 
with a New Testament and five shillings, which we beg to assure them 
shall be ever duly appreciated by ourselves and children; and we 
heartily wish the chapel may be a blessing to us and rising generations. 

^ ^ William Richardson. Thomas Sughrue. 

Richard Colegate. James Gaggon. 

John Spearman. John Roach. 

David Bloomfield. Daniel Garrick. 

John Collins. William Hayes. 

Qeorge Pane. George Allen. 

Edward Biscombe. James Morris. 

Richard Robins. James Callihan. 

W. Cross. George Smith. 

W. Bugg. W. Muckle. 

L. Taylor. Charles Bonney. 

£. Taylor. Robert Hollands. 

W, Bugg, jun. H. W. Ralph. 

Michael Butler. J. Wood, &c., &c.' " 

On the 28th of June, 1859, the chapel was opened ; and 
the following is an account of the proceedings from a local 
source : — 

"The new Congregational chapel in Rectory Place, built for the 
congregation hitherto worshipping under the pastorate of the Rev. 
William Gill, in Ebenezer Chapel, William Street, was opened on 
Tuesday last by special services. 

" Considering that the nucleus of this church was formed but eight 
years since, and consisted then of but eight Sunday-school teachers, 
its rapid growth and eminent success must be a source of great thank- 
fulness and of much gratification to the people. The early successes 
of the congregation, in a large degree, were the result of the 
Christian liberality of the late Mr. Thomas Tame, whose munificent 
generosity had contributed so largely to the funds for establishing the 
original church in William Street, and also for erecting the present 

"On Tuesday the proceedings were opened by a prayer-meeting 
at seven o'clock in the morning, followed by Divine service at twelve. 
The services were commenced with prayer by the Rev. C. Dukes, M.A., 
followed by a hymn, in the singing of which the congregation were 
aided by the organ and a well-trained choir. This was succeeded by 
the reading of appropriate passages of Scripture by the Rev. Thoma» 
Aveling, and singing and prayer. After a third hymn, 

The Rev. W. GilVs Atttohtography, 297 

" The sermon was preached by the Rev, Samuel Martin, of West- 
minster, from the 9th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel of 
St. Luke — *This day is salvation come to this house.' From these 
Tvords the rev. gentleman preached a most eloquent and effective 
•discourse, comprising a narrative of, and commentary on, the whole 
liistory of man, his falling into sin, and his redemption. 

" A liberal collection was made, and, a hymn being sung, prayer was 
•offered by the Rev. J. Mannering, who afterwards closed the morning 
services with the Benediction. 

'' At half-past two an excellent dinner was served in the lecture-room 
^provided by the ladies of the congregation, and served up under the 
•efficient management of Mr. Gregory Browne), to which about one hundred 
and fifty ladies and gentlemen sat down, the attendants consisting of the 
servants from the families of the several members of the church. 
Amongst numerous friends, we observed the Revs. S. Martin, J. 
Stoughton, C. Dukes, A Morris, T. Aveling, J. Robinson, J. Adey, A. 
Buzacott, W. Lucy, T. Waterman, J. Mannering, S. Hebditch, H. 
"Crassweller, C. Box, C. Hawson, W. Woodlands, J. Laxton, and others ; 
Also Messrs. J. Finch, E. Smith, P. Belamy, T. Saddington, R. Mullens, 
White, Whiteman, and numerous other townsmen of the several deno- 

" The chair was taken by W. Greig, Esq., and the Rev. Wm. Gill 
suggested that, it being the anniversary of her Majesty's coronation, they 
:8liould drink the health of the Queen. 

'^ The Chairman said he was sure no queen ever sat on the throne of 
England, either as the monarch or queen consort, who had shown such 
sympathies with her subjects, and had given such cordial assistance to 
;all objects which tended to their advancement, as Queen Victoria. 
She had shown an example of virtue and liberality of sentiment which 
iie believed was followed in a large degree by others of her sex. She 
was an ornament to her country, she had an intelligent mind, and 
lie believed she had the fear of God in her heart. During the 
twenty years she had exercised the regal authority of the throne, she 
had assiduously performed her duty, meeting the toils of her office 
more like a Trojan of old than a woman of the present day — 
■and this was saying a great deal, for there never was a time when 
'women were held so much in esteem as now. Her name would be 
lianded down to posterity as *The Queen of England,* and he 
knew that there was not a good heart in her realms which would not 
Tespond heartily to the prayer, * God save the Queen,' and join in the 
hope that she might be blessed with peace and happiness on earth, and, 
At the end, eternal joy in the realms of bliss above. 

" The toast was honoured, and the National Anthem sung. 

" The Chairman said they had met that day in a good cause, to give 
* Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward all men.' They 
lived in glad times, which formed a marked contrast to the days when 

298 Selections from 

lie was mQch younger, when few, even of the supporteis of the Chuicb 
of Qod, were followers of the QospeL There were happily some few good 
exceptions, which shone the brighter for their rarity, but in the present 
day they had manifold instances of not only love to Qod, but benevolence 
to man. There was a time when riches were never devoted to their 
proper nse ; but now the affluent gave of their stores to feed the poor, 
founded dispensaries and asylums, and relieved every species of want* 
Happy was the man who thus disposed of the riches with which he had 
been blessed, for at the last he would be received by the Son of God, 
who would say, ' Inasmuch as ye have done this for the least of these 
My brethren, ye have done it unto Me ; enter into the joy of thy Lord.' 
He considered that this congregation was much blessed by having so 
excellent a pastor. Years ago he had read of Barotonga, where 
the savage inhabitants attacked every stranger, and not only killed 
but devoured him. It was to this place that Mr. Gill and his wife 
went to do the mission of their Saviour. They found the people 
and the country in a state of degradation, wretchedness, and misery 
scarcely conceivable. For twenty years they laboured there, and they^ 
left it a place far better than they had found it, for the blessing of God 
had been upon their efforts, and His cause had triumphed. Now they 
had Mr. Gill in Woolwich, where he had been greatly influential in raising: 
that most elegant and commodious chapel, in which he would preach 
fEUthfully the way, through the Lord Jesus Christy to heaven. Mr. Gill 
had on all occasions endeavoured to aid him in any object in which his- 
assistance was asked, having attended missionary meetings at Mile End 
New Town whenever requested. He was one who deserved well of his 
congregation, and without doubt the Savioiir would in the end receive 
him with ' Well done, good and faithful servant.' He (the chairman^ 
did not set much value upon works as a means of attaining heaven, but 
he knew that faith without works was useless, and he therefore exhorted 
them to look to the poor, of whose fearful condition so many of them 
knew nothing. He would leave £h for the poor of this district, and he 
hoped that others would not be unmindful of their claims upon them, 
but, while attending to the spiritual welfare* of the humbler classes, they 
would also minister to their worldly requirements. He trusted that he 
should meet them year by year, and learn of the good they had in the 
meantime accomplished. 

" The Rev. W. Gill said he hoped they had all met there that day 
resolved to merge themselves in the great work which they had begun. 
It was twenty-one years since he went abroad to the island of Barotonga 
in the South Seas. The chairman had made a mistake with respect to 
th^ beauties of that island, its natural beauties being great, and the 
beauties of the Church there being such as would warm his heart to see 
here. After sixteen years' labour there he returned to England, and he 
then had the offer of the pastorate of Ebenezer Chapel. He hesitated 
long, and a serious conflict arose in his own mind as to what he should 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 299* 

do, and he anxionsly prayed to learn the will of God concerning him^ 
VViien, therefore, the Directors of the Missionary Society asked hint 
ivliere he would go, he said, * I have asked God to direct you where to 
send me ; and where you send me I will go.' He and his devoted 
missionary wife, having consulted a physician as to the state of her 
health, forwarded a certificate to the Missionary Society, asking if, in the 
face of that, he would be required to return to the South Seas ; for, if so, 
tliey would go. As the Directors would not decide, he thought it was 
his duty to remain in England, and at about that time he received an 
invitation to accept the pastorate of this church and congregation, and 
bis reception was of so unanimous and so loving a nature that he 
consented, and on last Sunday three years preached his first sermon as a 
* supply.' He found the church happy and united, but small and poor ;-. 
but they did not publish their poverty — each did his utmost to 
support the institutions of the Gospel. He took the pastorate under the 
agreement that as soon as the deacons could find a site for a church they 
-would commence to build. 

** Some twenty sites were inspected ; but, the most favourable being 
leaseholds at about ^65 per annum on a ninety-nine years' lease, they 
determined to wait. They did wait until the time came when they 
^were enabled to purchase the freehold of the site on which the building 
was erected. The cost of this site was £1,100, for freeholds were 
exceedingly expensive in Woolwich. They had many trials, with the* 
repetition of which he would not now detain them ; the congregation 
and himself had worked warmly and happily together, and he knew 
of nothing which could be considered as a shadow of reproach from one^ 
to another. The whole cost of the building was about ^£5,000, and 
their good friend, Mr. F. Finch, whom he was glad to see present, had 
been one of the principals in enabling them to build the chapel, he and 
Mr. Wilson having readily responded to their application for a loan 
of j£l,500 on mortgage ; and the building committee were now anxious- 
to reduce their outstanding debts to this amount, apprehending that the^ 
amount could be cleared gradually by instalments. The rent of the 
building which they had lately occupied was £bO per year, with about 
£\0 per year for the Sunday-school room. Therefore, it was clear that, 
if all but the mortgage was removed, they would be able to go on 
smoothly and clear from debt. With the promises they had already, it 
was estimated that, to do this, they would not require more than ^£650, 
and it was earnestly hoped that this would soon be obtained. He then 
called on Mr. Pearce, their honorary treasurer, secretary, and sub- 
architect, to read the accounts. 

'^Mr. James Pearce then read the balance-sheet, in which it wa»> 
shown that the cost of the freehold was ^1,100 ; cost of building, &c.,. 
£3,500 ; lighting and warming, £200 ; architects and surveyors, £300 ;: 
printing, stamps, and stationery, £150. A list of subscriptions was also 
read, and it appeared that £1,000 had been promised from different 

300 Selections from 

Bources. The only debt upon the chapel fond now was the mortgage 
'of ;£1,500, and other accounts amounting to rather more than £600. 
Mr. Fearce also announced the receipt of a cheque for £10 10s. from 
Mr. Peake, as a substitute for himself, he not being able to attend. 

" The Rev. W. Gill said he had received from the Rev. Mr. Kennerly, 
of Eltham, an excuse for his absence, and a subscription of £l. Mr. 
Tlverdie had also given £2 2s.; himself and Mrs. Qill had done their 
best, and had subscribed an additional £5 ; and Mr. Greig, who had 
previously given £20 to join with others in raising £300, now had 
offered to be one of five to raise £10 each. 

'* Mr. Finch being about to leave, the Rev. W. Gill expressed the 
thanks of the congregation for the assistance he had given their work, 
ivhich was acknowledged in suitable terms. 

" Mr. E. Smith, of London, also took his leave, having first subscribed 
£10 10s., and an additional £10 towards the list proposed by Mr. Greig. 

'< The Rev. W. Gill expressed thanks to the architects for the zeal and 
ability, and, at the same time, the urbanity, they had exhibited through- 
out the progress of the works. He thought they had had more than 
usual interference while on this work, the committee having been 
•constantly about the spot, seeing every stone laid and inspecting every 
piece of timber. Alterations had been suggested, which must have 
been exceedingly troublesome, but they had been received with a good 
grace and an amount of courteous attention which was quite astonish- 
ing. He was pleased to see Mr. Landor was present, and could with 
pleasure inform him that he and Mr. Bidell had the respect and good 
ivishes of all with whom they had come in contact during the progress 
of this work. To the clerk of works, Mr. Neeton, also, a large amount 
of praise was due. He had been constantly at his post, watchful and 
oareful ; and there was no doubt that the building would owe much of 
its stability and good workmanship to his care and conduct. He begged 
to acknowledge a further sum of £2 2s. from Mr. Landor. 

" Mr. Pearce said he believed he had been the greatest tormentor 
of the gentlemen just named, and must take the opportunity of acknow- 
ledging with thanks the courtesy he had received from them on all 

" Mr. Landor said in the first place he wished to correct an error. The 
£2 2s. had been subscribed by his brother, and not by himselt He 
acknowledged gratefully the ; complimentary terms in which his name 
had been mentioned, and could assure them that, although an architect 
always took an interest in the progress of his work, he had taken a still 
greater interest in the erection of this building for many reasons. That 
was a day of congratulation, and he congratulated the pastor and con- 
gregation on the accomplishment of the work to which they had so 
long looked forward. They had begun in harmony, but it frequently 
liappened that, however harmoniously a work might be commenced. 

The Rev. JV. Gt'lPs Autohiography. 301 

liowever full of promise it might be, dissensions and disagreements 
sprang up ; but in this case he was happy to say all such unpleasant 
occurrences had been avoided. In the progress of the work he had 
made many friends with whom he hoped to be long acquainted, and to 
meet eventually in a better building — ^a building not made with hand^^ 
On behalf of Mr. Neeton, he would say that to him they were greatly 
indebted for the satisfactory progress of the works, and too much credit 
could not be given to him for his constant attention, assiduity, and 

" The Rev. W. Gill said, although Mr. Landor had disclaimed the 
donation just mentioned, it must not be forgotten that he had been a 
subscriber in another form, having agreed to erect the spire at a cost of 
^70 instead of £120. Mr. Gill having alluded to the Rev. S. Martin, 
and his early connection with that gentleman, 

" The Rev. S. Martin said, as he had to leave for London to attend his 
own church, he desired to say a few words previous to his departure* 
The building in which they were assembled was one which, by its 
external appearance, invited any one to come in, and when inside it 
plainly invited them to stop, and nobody could desire a building to 
be clothed in better characteristics. One word for the spire. He 
hoped that it would not be inferred from his words that he was 
harping after a steeple for his own church, but he must confess that he 
liked its appearance. A building constructed in the simple Italian style 
did not advertise itself. It might be the town-hall, mechanics' institu- 
tion, court-house, public baths, or any other building ; but a church built 
in an ecclesiastical style could not be mistaken. It might possibly 
whisper to the passer-by that there was a God, and might be the 
subordinate means of saving souls ; therefore an ecclesiastical and 
religious face upon it was an advantage. He was inclined to 
defend the spire from the bottom to the top. Alluding to the 
pecuniary difficulties under which the church now laboured, the rev. 
gentleman said he had been trying to raise fifty pounds, an^ thought he 
should succeed ; but, in Westminster, there were so many claims upon 
them that their labour was ceaseless. He had left his home at twelve 
years of age, and had met in Woolwich many friends. Indeed, the 
abundant kindness he had met with here made him think that he had 
more friends lying in the graves at Woolwich, Plumstead, and Charlton 
than at his own home, for he missed so many from around him. - There 
was one friend in particular who seemed to have been mixed up in all 
the important events of his life, who had been to him more as an 
affectionate father than a mere friend. He had passed away after giving 
;£1,000 towards this chapel, but he felt that he (alluding to the late Mr. 
T. Tame) was still with them, for the Saviour surely would not let him 
be in ignorance of this event. Christ had whispered to him that the 
work was finished. After alluding to an elegant basket of flowers which 
had been just presented to him by another of his old friends, the speaker 

302 Selections from 

•concluded by stating that he should ever hold that day and that event 
in pleasant remembrance. Mr. Martin then took his leave. 

** Several other subscriptions just received were announced, including 
five guineas from Messrs. Josiah and John Smith ; £\ from Mr. Gill ; 
^ guinea from Mr. Bixon ; A Friend, £5, &c Mr. W. Campbell Taylor 
said himself and Mr. Watts would subscribe £h each if eight others 
would do likewise. Another £h was subscribed by Mr. Elkin. 

'' The meeting then separated, re-assembling in greater numbers at tea, 
At half-past five o'clock, when, notwithstanding the multitude of the 
company, the ladies presiding, with their numerous and assiduous 
satellites, continued to perform their rather difficult task with great 
credit to themselves and satLsfiEustion to those who surrounded them. 

'' In the evening, at half-past six o'clock. Divine service was resumed in 

the chapel, when, a hymn having been sung, the Rev. R. W. Betts read 

from the 2nd Book of Kings the beautiful prayer of Solomon in the 

Temple, and afterwards offered up an eloquent and appropriate prayer. 

Another hymn having been sung, 

" The Rev. John Stoughton preached from the words, *• Be ye doers of 
the work, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.'— James, 1st 
chap. 22nd verse. 

« A hymn having been sung, prayer was offered by a minister froni 
America, who closed the services with the Benediction. 

» A portion of the congregation afterwards partook of supper in the 
lecture-room, and, a meeting being improvised immediately after, some 
brief addresses were delivered, and, a subscription being set on foot, 
about ;£50 was almost immediately collected, making altogether upwards 
of £200 collected during the day." 

FiBST Anniversary. 

In the following year, 1860, my brother George and his 
family returned to England from the South Sea Islands, and 
we had the pleasure of welcoming them on the 30th of June, 
the day before the first anniversary sermons were to be preached 
in connection with the chapel. Under these circumstances 
nothing could be more opportune than his taking one of the 
services on the following day. 

Appended is a report of these services, copied from a local 
newspaper : — 

" On Sunday, July 1st, the Rev. William Qill preached from Isaiah 
IviL, 15 V. — ^the greatness and condescension of God in relation to the 
exercises and experiences of worship. Much interest was added to the 
afternoon school and evening services by the presence of the Bev. 

The Rev. W. Gill's Autobiography, 305 

<3eorge Gill, who had just reached this country from the South Sea 
Islands, after an absence of sixteen years in the service of the Qospel 
£iniong the islanders. The Rev. George Gill preached in the evening 
fe)m Nehemiah ix., 38 v. — ^giving a review of God's providence and 
:grace towards His people, exciting in them renewed consecration to His 
will and service. At the Communion, several members were received 
into the fellowship of the church ; and the people connected with this 
growing congregation concluded the services of this their first anniver- 
sary with expressions of gratitude to God, whose guidance and favour 
they seek, and with thanks to the friends of the town and neighbour- 
hood who have rendered them sympathy and help. The total collec- 
tions, donations, &c., of the united services were little less than X200." 

• •*••• 

During the next two years the church progressed in every 
"branch, and a large number of children were added to the 
Sunday-school. Although my time was largely occupied 
i?7ith home aiBFairs, I was not idle in the cause of missions, for 
I visited almost every part of the kingdom on behalf of the 
Missionary Society. 

In 1863 I had arranged to preach Sunday-school sermons 
at Sheerness on Sunday, October 18th ; and some four days 
before, Mrs. Gill and I went to visit our friend Captain 
O'Dwyer, of the reserve ship Orion, lying off Sheerness. On 
Saturday we made signals for a steam-tug to take us in from 
the boat, and to take us to Sheerness, a distance of two miles. 
In attempting this we met with a fearful accident ; the tug 
ran into our boat ; Mrs. Gill and I were in the water some 
fifteen or twenty minutes, and were in greatest danger of 
being drowned. The local report of the accident was as 
follows : — 

"Alabmino Boat Accident. — An accident of a very alarming 
character, which providentially ended without any fatal result, occurred 
on Saturday last in the River Medway. It appears that the Rev. W. 
GUI, of Rectory Place Chapel, Woolwich, was last week paying a visit 
to Sheerness, having exchanged pulpits with the Rev. J. Samson, of that 
place, in which Mr. Gill was to preach on the Sunday following. Mrs. 
GiU accompanied her husband, and they spent the afternoon and night 
of Friday on board the Orionj steam ship, lying in ordinary, on a visit 
to Mr. and Mrs. O^Dwyer, formerly members of the congregation at 
Rectory Place Chapel. On the following afternoon (Saturday) Mr. 
GiU, Mrs. Gill, Mr. O'Dwyer, the wife of a seaman, and four sailors got 
into the Orion's boat and rowed out into the stream, waiting for the 

304 Selections from 


screw steam gnu-boat, which calls off eveiy ship in ordinary, for the 
pojpose of conveying passengers to the pier. By some misconception 
of Olden the helmsman of the gun-boat turned her in such a position 
that she came stem on upon the small boat, cutting her down to the 
water's edge, and throwing all the occupants into the water, in which 
they were struggling for at least ten minutes. Mrs. Gill, after the lapse 
of a considerable time, caught hold of the life rope attached to the gun- 
l>oat and was rescued, though not without sustaining some severe 
bruises ; but Mr. Gill, who could not swim, was almost exhausted, and 
would undoubtedly have perished had not Mr. O'Dwyer, seeii^ his- 
sinking state, supported him until both were rescued. 

^ A boat belonging to the Hood put out to the rescue, and ultimately 
the whole of the persons were saved. Mr. and Mrs. Gill and Mr. 
ODwyer were in a very exhausted condition, and were taken on board 
the Orion, where, by the judicious use of warmth and stimulants, they 
were so far recovered that Mr. and Mrs. GiU were enabled to return by- 
train from Queensboiongh to Woolwich the same night, where they 
arrived shortly after 11 o'clock. An official inqtdry has taken place^ 
and the result has proved that the man at the wheel on board the gun- 
boat (who mistook the signal) was the sole cause of the accident, by 
turning towards the boat instead of from it, as directed by the captain 
of the gun-boat. We are glad to say that all parties are recovering as 
well and as fast as may be expected, considering the shock to which, 
they were exposed, and it is hoped that Mr. Gill will be able to officiate 
at tiie morning service in his own chapel to-morrow." 

• ••••• 

For a year or two previous to this date I had had a great 
desire to form a Young Men's Undenominational Christian 
Association. After various and unexpected difficulties in 
connection with the denominations, I had the pleasure of 
seeing this infant institution established. The following is a 
brief description of the first lecture given early in 1864 : — 

"Woolwich Young Men's Christian Association. — This useful 
association has grown up under the influence of a few townsmen 
who are interested in the religious and intellectual welfare of 
the young men of Woolwich and. its neighbourhood. The first of a 
series of lectures intended to be dehvered during the ensuing winter in 
connection with the association was given on Thursday evening last, at 
the lecture-hall adjoining Rectory Place Chapel, by the Rev. W. M. 
Thompson, of London, on the * Life of Martin Luther.' The Rev. W. 
Gill, minister of the chapel, presided. The lecturer gave a most lucid 
and eloquent sketch of the leading incidents in the life of the great 
Reformer, illustrating them by views given by a powerful oxy-hydrogen 
apparatus, and was listened to by a highly interested and enthusiastic 

The Rev. W. GilVs Autobiography. 305 

•audience. We were pleased to notice that the lecture was well attended 
by yonng persons, for whose benefit the association has more especially 
•arranged the lectures, and we trust, from the highly interesting character 
•of the lectures announced to follow, and the low scale of admission — 
viz., Is. for the entire course — to find increased interest awakened 
inwards the well-being of the society. During the last twelve months 
'the meetings of the association, to which all young men are welcome, 
have been regularly held on Sunday afternoons at three o'clock, and on 
Wednesday evenings at nine o'clock, in the lecture-room of Rectory 
Place Chapel, and both the number who have attended and the interest 
^manifested have been most gratifying. Upon the committee of 
snanagement are included the names of well-known gentlemen 
•representing nearly all the leading denominations of the town. The 
•second lecture is to be delivered on Tuesday evejiing, December 6th, 
by the Rev. J. Hiles Kitchens, F.R.S.L., of Peckham, on 'The Tower 
•of London: its Tenants and Treasures.' The hours at which these 
lectures commence (eight o'clock) is rather early for such a business 
town as Woolwich. We oannot, however, but hope that many young men 
may have the opportunity of attending, and that they may also be 
induced to avail themselves of the Sunday-afternoon and Wednesday- 
•cvening classes." 

Beyond engagements connected with these public institu- 
tions, the weeks of the year were occupied with the ordinary 
a*outine of pastoral work — ^viz., with visitation two mornings 
•or afternoons a week ; children's class from three to four every 
Wednesday, at which forty was the average attendance 
(none admitted above the age of thirteen) ; two. weekly 
Bible-classes on Mondays and Wednesdays; and weekly 
individual interviews with candidates and members. 

My principal recreation during these years had been at- 
tendance at London Missionary Society's committees, and 
Hackney College committees, and the meetings of the London 
Ministerial Board, and London Missionary Society's and Bible 
Society's deputation meetings. 

During this year the church at Eectory Place was asked to 

take charge of a small chapel cause at Welling. This with 

all willingness we attempted to do, but found the distance 

and other difi&culties too great to be overcome. But we were 

more successful in a preaching-station which we were able to 

-establish with the assistance of some of our young men at 

North Woolwich. 

The anniversary meeting connected with the building of 


3o6 Selections from 

the cliapel, held in July this year, was one of great gratifica- 
tion to U3 all, inasmuch as it celebrated the clearing o£f of the 
debt from the chapel and schools, the actual amount of which, 
was somewhat more than £6,500, or, together with interest on 
borrowed money, &c., &c., increased the outlay to £7,500. We 
were pleased to have a small balance after all liabilities were 
paid, and the friends generously resolved to add donations to 
this balance to the amoimt of £20 in order to give every 
child of the Sunday-school a memorial medal commemorative 
of the event — Shaving on one side the chapel in relief, with 
the words: "Eectory Place Congregational Chapel, Kev. 
William Gill, Pastor," and on the reverse side "To Com- 
memorate the Extinction of the Debt on the Chapel." The 
following is a short account of the gathering of the Sunday- 
school taken from the Kentish Independent : — 

'^Bbciobt Thism Chafbl^ WooiiWIGH.— On ThnrBday lasti the 
cbildien belonging to the Sunday-schools of Rectory Place Chapel were 
treated with tea, and each child was presented with a medal in com- 
menHHAtion of the clearing off the debt incurred in building the chapel 
and schools. 

^ At five o'clock nearly five hundred children met in the upper and 
lower roomSi and were supplied, to their hearts' content, with tea, cake, 
and et ceteras, and after an hour's unrestrained recreation they were 
assembled in tiie chapeL Before the distribution of the medals, a brief 
religious service was conducted by the Rev. William GiU A beautiful 
hymn, called * Christ the Children's Friend,' was sung, after which a 
simple pray«r was offBied by Mr. Qill, which was audibly responded ta 
in diort sentences by all the children. Another hymn was then song^ 
entitled ' The Better Land,' then a brief history of the schools was 
given, which was followed by a few appropriate remarks from Mr. 
Thomas R. Richardson, the esteemed superintendent. The children 
again united in singing another of their hymns, * Sweet Rest in Heaven,' 
and then each class, with its teacher, was caUed out in order, and each 
child was presented with a medaL The medal^ both in design and 
execution, was much admired, having on one side a beautifully executed 
raised outline of the chapel, encircled with the words : ' Rectory Place 
Congregational Chapel,' * Woolwich,' * Rev. William Gill, Pastor.' And 
on Sie reverse side the record: — *16th January, 1866,' *To Com- 
memorate the Extinction of the Debt on the CSiapdl,' * Erected 1869, at a 
Cost of £6,500.' The names of the deacons of the church then follow, and 
the whole is encircled with the text — Genesis xiL, 2 v. — * I will bles& 
thee, and thou shalt be a blessing.' 

The Rev, W. Gill's Autobiography. 307 

'* A goodly number of the membeis of tlie congregation and friends 
"were present, and the whole proceedings were characterised by a spirit 
of cheerfulness and praise which, we think, will be remembered with 
interest for many years to come. 

" It had been previously arranged by the teachers of the school to 
entertain their superintendents and secretary, with their pastor and 
Mrs. Gill, at a supper ; accordingly, at nine o'clock, the party assembled 
in the lecture-room. A well-provisioned table was spread under the 
superintendence of Mr. Leach, and the engagements of the occasion were 
happily terminated by friendly intercourse and reciprocal good-feeling 
and good-will, which, we trust, may long mark both the schools and 
congregation of Rectory Place Chapel.'' 


During the year 1867 I had frequently been feeling unwell 
and unequal to the discharge of the varied duties of my posi- 
tion; and this indisposition was much increased during January 
and February by a succession of colds, thoroughly relaxing 
the head and chest, so that, in conversation with the deacons 
on the last Saturday in February, I was led to intimate to 
them my deepening conviction that I should have to resign 
the pastorate. During my twelve years at Woolwich, besides 
attending to the various things mentioned previously, I had 
preached 1,329 sermons (Sunday and week-day) in Eectory 
Place Chapel; and London Missionary Society and Bible 
Society meetings and sermons at various churches during the 
same period were 403, making a total of 1,732 services. 
There were reasons also connected with individuals and 
individual action which no doubt more affected me in my 
weakened state of health than they otherwise would have 
done. Thus, very much to the surprise of the deacons, I 
made known my conviction about resignation simply, and in 
the first instance privately, to them. I frankly stated that I 
wished this communication to be strictly private, for if 
during the next month it became publicly known to the 
church, it would materially determine me to abide by my 

Early in March I visited Brighton ; but the doctors pro- 
hibited my stay there, and ordered me to Hastings. While 
at Hastings, I found that my conversation with the deacons 
in some way had become known, and that most of the people 

were thinking that my temporary absence at Hastings was 


3o8 Selections from 

only preliminary to my resignation. I returned to Woolwich 
in the last week of March, and, under all the circumstances, 
was led to give in my resignation to the church. 

Thus closed twelve years' service at Woolwich. Seventy- 
five members were in communion when I took charge. Four 
hundred and twenty-five were admitted during my pastorate, 
of whom two hundred and ffty were in monthly communion at 
my resignation. 

During the autumn of 1868 I employed myself in revising 
and curtailing " Grems from the Coral Islands " for a cheap 
Sunday-school edition, of which 5,000 copies were printed, 
making the total of all editions of the work 11,000 copies. 


Early in 1869 my esteemed and generous friend, Miss 
Portal, of Kussell Square, kindly offered to pay all expenses 
of a tour for Mrs. Gill and myself to accompany her, with two 
or three other friends, to France, Germany, and Switzerland. 
Accordingly in July we commenced a long and interesting 
tour, visiting Paris, Strasbourg, the St. Julian Pass and the 
Abbula Pass, Samaden, St. Mauritz, and other towns of the 
Engadine ; St. Galle, Zurich, Lucerne, Schaflfhausen, 
Freiburg, Heidelburg, Frankfurt, Homburg, Wiesbaden, 
Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, Brussels, Field of Waterloo, &c., 
en route. This thorough change and recreation completely 
restored my health, so that during the autumn I was able 
to take general services both in London and in the country. 


Four Years at Egbert Street. 1870 — 1874. 

Eobert Street Chapel, Grosvenor Square, was the oldest 
Dissenting place of worship in the west end of London. The 
bmlding as it now stands was built by Seth Smith, and for 
many years in its early history had the services of the well- 
known and then popular preacher, Eev. J. Leach. But 
during the last twelve years, owing to the death of some of its 
members, the removal of others, and unfortunate settlements 
of ministers, the place had become neglected except by a few 

The Rev, JV, Gill's Autobiography. 309 

devout, but poor, people, who could do little either to support 
or increase its efficiency. It was thought, however, that if I 
would undertake the work, with my restored health and with 
the sympathy and material assistance of friends outside, which 
were promised, that the cause might so revive as to encourage 
the church to build a new chapel, the frontage of which should 
be in Oxford Street. Several ministerial and lay friends 
strongly advised my attempting the work, and hence I was 
invited to preach, and did so on the 16th of January. 

On the 4th of April the following invitation was sent to 
me from the church to become its pastor, which invitation I 
was led to accept. This invitation was signed by all the 
members of the church, numbering 115. 

<' 18, Bentinck Street, Manchester Square, 

" Reverend Sir, " ^th Aprils 1870. 

"It is my pleasant duty to inform you that, at a churcli- 
meeting held in Robert Street Chapel the 28th ult., the three 
following resolutions were unanimously adopted after a report of our 
conversation with you had been read to the meeting : — 

** 1. That the Rev. W. Gill be affectionately and earnestly invited to 
become the pastor of the church. 

"2. That the church pledges itself collectively, and the members 
pledge themselves individually, to use all possible means within their 
power towards the enlargement of our present chapel towards Oxford 
Street, on the building of a new place of worship should a suitable 
opportunity offer itself, to keep this object constantly in view, striving 
with all prayer towards its accomplishment. 

** 3. That the church guarantees to the Rev. W. Gill a fixed salary of 
£200 per year for the first two years of his pastorate. 

" I also have the pleasure to subjoin the two first resolutions signed 
by all the deacons and 109 members of the church, and have no doubt 
we should have obtained more signatures had we kept the paper a little 
longer to submit to absent members, but we thought that the number 
that had signed would be sufficient to show you the imanimity and 
earnestness of the church in supporting the resolutions. 

" Trusting that you will give our affectionate invitation your serious 
and prayerful consideration, and with the earnest prayer that the Spirit 
of all wisdom may guide you to such a decision as shall most redound to 
the glory of^our Divine Redeemer, 

" I am. Reverend and Dear Sir, 

" T. VAN DER Ben, Secretary. 

**Rev. William Gill, Camden House, 
« The Glebe, Blackheath.^' 

3 1 o Selections from 

As soon as I was able I made arrangements to go up from 
Blackheath three times a-week — ^Mondays for visitation and 
evening Bible-class ; Wednesdays, for visitation and evening 
preaching service ; Thursdays, Bible-class in the evening with 
young women and teachers in the schooL The Sunday-school 
was one of the most interesting features of the place. There 
were about four hundred scholars and twenty-five to thirty 
teachers. As soon as things were a little consolidated I began 
to look about for a site where with any probability we might 
ultimately secure a new chapel. The first place under con- 
sideration was a timber-yard which could have been purchased, 
and concerning which I wrote the Rev. J. H. Wilson. 
Another site was in Oxford Street, belonging to the City 
Lands Committee. Another plan proposed was to purchase 
two houses at the rear of the chapel which would open into 
Oxford Street. 

Concerning these plans I wrote to Mr. Samuel Morley, who 
said^ in reply, he would be willing liberally to help us in the 
building, but he could take no responsibility. Secondly, I 
wrote through Lord Shaftesbury to the Duke of Westminster 
respecting the houses at the back of the chapel or any other 
in Oxford Street. In reply the Duke said that there were nine 
or ten years of most of the leases yet unexpired, and at the 
expiration of which he would have to sell them at a market- 
able value. Thirdly, I had two or three interviews with the 
Committee and Sub-Committee of the London Chapel Build- 
ing Society. They expressed themselves glad that I was 
undertaking the tMng, advised me to begin at once, and 
as the thing proceeded they would render help. Alas ! 
I considered this but poor encouragement, although I told 
them I had promised towards the work the whole of the 
salary that I received — ^viz., £200 for five years. Fourthly, I 
then, through J. Faring & Son, architects, applied to the City- 
Lands Committee respecting the site in Oxford Street. The 
Committee were kindly disposed to treat with me, and 
promised to grant eighty years' lease instead of forty at a 
rental of £150 a-year. We were assured by the architects 
that, when the building should be complete, the cellarage 
would yield an income of £200 a-year. The Lands Committee, 

The Rev, W, GilVs Autobiography, 311 

of course, required some four or six gentlemen who, as trustees, 
shotild become responsible for the fulfilment of our agreements. 
The whole of these arrangements were fully presented to the 
church, and a month was given for the members to say how 
much they could promise towards the seven or eight thousand 
pounds' expenditure in five yearg. 

At the end of a month it was found that £500 was the 
utmost that could be promised in the five years. Under these 
circumstances of difficulty we were led to close the year, as far 
as building purposes were concerned, without the slightest 
hope of success. 


Having given up all hope respecting the new chapel, I 
devoted myself simply to the ordinary duties of the various 
institutions during these two years with very little incident to 
record, except the uniform kindness of the people, and their 
sjrmpathy with me in the evidence that nothing more could 
be done for the place but »to make it a kind of mission 
station, requiring the labours of a minister who was able to 
do that kind of work, and who lived nearer to Kobert Street 
than Blackheath. 

Hence, at the last church-meeting in December, I gave in 
my resignation (in the following terms), which was to take 
place on the last Sunday in March, 1874 : — 

" To the Church Assembling at Robert Street ChapeL 

" Mr DEAR Friends, 

" It will soon be four years since I came among you, and I 
trust in the review it can be seen that our labours have in some degree 
been fruitful of good, both to yourselves and to the institutions of the 

" But with all the good results and the happy co-operation which 
have marked our labours, it is painfully apparent that our losses by 
<ieath and removals have not been supplied by anything like a satisfactory 
or hopeful increase of attendance. 

" For some time past my growing conviction has been that a change 
of ministry is required, ahke to meet your circumstances as a church 
and the character and habits of the population around you. 

" It is evident to my mind that the success of your institutions among 
the people of the immediate locality requires more evangelistic mission- 
like services and visitation than we are rendering. Therefore, after 
mature and prayerful consideration, I feel it my duty to tender my 

3 1 2 Selections from 

iwrignfttion as your pastor. I had purposed tliat this should take place- 
on the last Sunday of this year, but, thinking it will give you time and 
opportunity to develop plans for your future welfiEure in the choice or 
another minister, I defer leaving you imtil the last Sunday in March 
next. In leaving you I desire to record my gratitude to God for any 
prosperity which has marked our labours among you, and I would 
acknowledge the kindness I have received from you during my pastorate^ 
I shall take with me pleasing memories of you personally, and as a 
church, and it will always give me pleasure to hear of your increase and 

*^ Commending you to the guidance and blessing of our Lord and 
Siv iour, 

" Believe me, yours very truly, 

"William Gill." 

This resignation was given in such a manner as to lead the 
people to see that it was a final decision, and they were- 
compelled reluctantly to accept it. For the three months — 
January to March, 1874 — things went on pretty much the- 
same as during previous years, and in March I preached my 
farewell sermon, and on the following day a public farewell 
service was held in the school-room, of which the following is 
a brief report : — 


the last four years the Jlev. William Gill (formerly of the South Sea 
Islands Mission), as mimster of Robert Street Congregational Church, 
Grosvenor Square (one of the oldest, we beheve, in London), has been 
doing a work of great usefulness, labouring with growing success over 
church and congregation. The rev. gentleman is now about to with- 
draw fipom his present sphere of action, and on Wednesday evening 
made his last appearance as the pastor, a wirie being held by his church 
and congregation on the occasion. The school-room beneath the chapel 
was most tastefully decorated with flowers and flags, presenting a 
charming apj>earance, all connected with the place, the Young Men's 
Mutual Improvement Society, the Choral Society, and church and 
congregation generally, co-operating in the work — Mr. Smith, the 
secretary, and Mr. van der Ben, jun., especially exerting themselves. A 
series of choice engravings, kindly lent by Mr. Jenniugs, of Duke Street, 
adorned the walls, and a picturesque grotto-like arrangement of cork and 
flowers by Mr. John van der Ben attracted a good deal of attention. 
An excellent tea, at which between three and four hundred persons sat 
down, commenced the proceedings, after which the chair was taken by 
the Rev. William Gill, supported by the deacons. The opening hymn, 
< Jesus, Lord, we look to Thee,* having been sung and prayer offered, the 
rev. gentleman stated the circumstances that had arisen to make him 

The Rev. IV. GtU's Autobiography. 313 

think it well tliat his connection witli the churcli as its pastor should 
cease, but assuring them that he should always keep them in affectionate 
remembrance, and expressing his hope that the recollections of that 
night would be pleasing to their memories for all the future. Various 
readings and recitations were then given by Mr. C. H. Dyke, Mr. R. 
Barber, and Mr. J. Allen, jun., the latter gentleman's recitation, ' The 
CJhild's Prayer,' being especially well given, and several choruses by the 
Choral Society — an institution connected with the church, under the 
superintendence of Mr. Stephen Kilbey, who is also the organist An 
interval for refreshments having taken place, Mr. J. Allen (one of the 
deacons) rose for the purpose of making a presentation in the shape of a 
very handsome silver iukstand, in the name of the members of the 
church and congregation, as a small mark of their Christian esteem and 
regard to their retiring pastor. He (Mr. Allen) hoped it would 
be as kindly received as it was presented. The rev. chairman, in 
accepting the present, gratefully assured the givers that he should not 
merely in the future look upon, but constantly use it. It bore the 
following inscription : * Presented to the Rev. W. Gill by the church 
and congregation on retiring from the pastorate of Robert Street Chapel, 
March, 1874.' Mr. J. vander Ben then, in a few kindly words, presented 
in the name of the Dorcas Society a silver paper-knife to the chairman 
for Mrs. GilV as a token of affectionate remembrance. It bore this 
inscription : ' Presented to Mrs. GUI with Christian affection by the 
jnembers of the Robert Street Dorcas Society, March, 1874,' and the 
monogram ' E. L. G.' The chairman having again returned thanks, and 
Mr. Beesley and Mr. Copeland, jun., having made a few remarks, the 
chairman desired to express personally his thanks to his young friends 
for the very handsome way in which they had decorated the room. The 
closing h3rmn, ^ Each other we have owned,' having been sung, and the 
Benediction given, the proceedings terminated." 

Thus closed my four years' work at Eobert Street. During 
these four years, eighty members had been added to the 
church, and the various institutions, at great sacrifice of the 
poor people, had been sustained. I shall have aflfectionate 
regard for aU whom I knew there, and wish them every bless- 
ing needed for prosperity and enlarged success. 




From 1874 to the close of his life, Mr. Gill undertook no 
settled charge. But his heart was in his work as much as 
ever. He was always ready to serve the Lord and Saviour, 
whom he unfeignedly loved. His activity was chiefly 
devoted to the London Missionary Society and the British and 
Foreign Bible Society. 

His last public services were conducted at Beccles on 
behalf of the institution to which his affections were so long 
and so devotedly attached — ^the London Missionary Society. 
He little thought that he was saying a farewell to his 
laborious public life. If it had been left to his choice to 
determine to what society the last service of his forty years* 
consecration to the Kingdom of Christ should be rendered, 
most assuredly he would have preferred his beloved London 
Missionary Society. After services at Beccles the illness 
commenced from which he never recovered. Upwards of 
four months of prostration and increasing languor were allotted 
him, and he passed to the rest in Christ for which his soul 
longed. On the 14th of August, 1878, he joined the " great mul- 
titude which no man could number." He laid down the weary 
burden of mortality. His last tear had been shed. Among 
the things which he did just before his illness was to hand 
over £2,000 to the funds of the London Missionary Society. 
He had a large and a loving heart, and many remember Ms 
generosity with thankfulness. Poor ministers, students with- 
out resources, orphans, and many in penury, all unknown to 
the world, were recipients of his bounty. 

The funeral took place at Abney Park Cemetery on Monday, 
August 19th, the service in the chapel being conducted by the 

The Rev, W. GilVs Autobiography. 315 

Kev. Henry Batchelor, and the Eev. J. C. Whitehouse officii 
ating at the grave. Among those who attended were the Eev. 
G-. Gill, of Burnley, brother of the deceased ; and the Eev. 
S. J. Whitmee, of Samoa. The churches at Woolwich and at 
Robert Street were represented by their deacons and several 
members of the congregations. 

A funeral sermon was preached by the Eev. H. Batchelor 
at Blackheath, at the conclusion of which he said : — 

" Our missionary epoch has not witnessed a more beautiful^ 
unselfish, and consecrated life than that of our departed 
friend. The last morning that I called to inquire for him, to 
my surprise, the mortal conflict was over. It came to me as 
a shock, and in the hush in which I listened I seemed to hear 
the Master's voice, ' Well done, good and faithful servant ; 
enter into the joy of thy Lord.' May we, through the mercy 
of God, be permitted to follow ! A tearless world — ^that is the 
goal of our hope. No tears. What a change ! Here ' Jesus ^ 
even 'wept;' no cheek shall be drenched with grief there. 
No tear of penitence shall ever fall, because no conscience 
sliall be pierced by the sense of sin. Hope shall shed no 
tear. How often the eye swims with emotion as it descries 
the radiance which shines from afar, and casts its inspiring 
beam into the sunken and dusky valleys of our ' tribulation.* 
There all shall be near, visible, ecstatic ; faith shall become 
sight, and desire exultation. No mother shall pour forth 
tears in secret over the waxen features from which the life 
has fled, whose light has gone from the eye, prattle from the 
lips, and bounding elasticity from the limb. No father shall 
stand beside premature remains of a prodigal, and with the 
descending clod let fall big drops from rigid cheeks, and go 
forth with a rending heart to the dull monotony of daily care. 
You shall never look with swollen eyes and quivering 
features into a father's, a mother's, a husband's, a wife's, a 
brother's, a sister's grave. Pain shall bow no frame, sickness 
blanch no cheek, mortal anguish wring no last tear from 
failing eye and flickering lid. Those that stand before the 
throne clothed with white robes carry unwithering ' palms ' 
of perpetual joy in their hands, and God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes." 

3i6 The Rev. W. GilFs Autobiography^ 

A memorial tablet, a photograph of which accompanies this 
chapter, was erected by the members of the church in Rectory 
Place Chapel, at Woolwich, soon after Mr. Gill's death ; and, 
in addition to this mark of public esteem, Mrs. Gill received 
numerous letters horn friends, known and unknown, in every 
part of the United Kingdom, and al^o from friends in other 
parts of the world, including many from natives of the South 
Sea Islands^ all of which, while condoling with the widow in 
her bereavement, bore testimony to the high personal esteem 
in which the departed missionary had been held by all \^^lio 
^ame in contact with him. 


Tk ' 

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